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UNITED STATES v. FEBRE

May 13, 1991

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT J. FEBRE, Defendant


Ann Claire Williams, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAMS

ANN CLAIRE WILLIAMS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 In 1983, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the defendant, Robert J. Febre, ("Febre"), pled guilty to various criminal charges including mail fraud, conspiracy, and income tax evasion. On November 10, 1983 the Ohio District Court sentenced Febre to 22 months of imprisonment and a $ 100,000.00 fine. On February 23, 1987, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1963, the defendant's criminal fine judgment was registered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. On February 27, 1989, again pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1963, the criminal fine judgment was registered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. To date, none of the $ 100,000.00 fine has been paid.

 Having registered a certified copy of the Ohio judgment in the Northern District of Illinois, the United States now seeks to enforce the $ 100,000.00 Ohio judgment. The defendant argues that the registration of judgment in the Northern District of Illinois is barred by the Illinois five-year statute of limitations for non-specified civil actions and now moves this Court to vacate the registered judgment and dismiss the action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4) *fn1" on the ground that the decision is void. For the following reasons, both the defendant's motions to vacate the judgment and to dismiss this action are denied.

 Discussion

 This case appears to present the Court with an issue of first impression: whether the government, in registering a criminal fine judgment from a federal district court of one state to a federal district court of another state pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1963, is subject to state statutes of limitations that would appear to bar registration of the judgement.

 United States Code, 28 U.S.C. § 1963, provides that,

 
A judgment in an action for the recovery of money or property now or hereafter entered in any district court which has become final by appeal or expiration of time for appeal may be registered in any other district court by filing therein a certified copy of such judgment. A judgment so registered shall have the same effect as a judgment of the district court of the district where registered and may be enforced in like manner.

 28 U.S.C. § 1963 (1988).

 Some of the primary purposes of the § 1963 registration statute have been stated as follows:

 Stanford v. Utley, 341 F.2d 265, 270 (8th Cir. 1965). "The language of the statute is absolutely clear that once the judgment is registered in the new district, it shall have the same effect as a judgment of a district court of the district where registered." United States v. Palmer, 609 F. Supp. 544, 547 (D.C. Tenn. 1985). While the majority of case law employing § 1963 concerns litigation between private parties, if the United States elects to register a judgment under the registration statute, it may clearly do so. United States v. Palmer, 609 F. Supp. 544, 547 (1985).

 The defendant argues that in determining whether a judgment can be registered in another United States district court, the law of the state in which registration is sought must be applied to determine whether the registration of that judgment is barred by the statute of limitations. Illinois law provides that "all civil actions not otherwise provided for, shall be commenced within five years next after the cause of action accrued." Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 110, para. 13-205 (Smith-Hurd 1984). Consequently, the defendant argues that the § 1963 registration of the Ohio judgment in the Illinois District Court is void since more than five years have passed since the judgment was originally rendered in the Ohio court. *fn2"

 The defendant relies on Matanuska Valley Lines, Inc. v. Molitor, 365 F.2d 358 (9th Cir. 1966) to support this conclusion. In Matanuska, the plaintiff obtained a default judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in 1956. 365 F.2d at 359. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1963, the judgment was registered in 1964 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Id. Under Alaska law, the effective life and lien of a judgment was ten years; under Washington law, a foreign judgment was not registerable in the state after the expiration of six years following entry of the foreign judgment. Id. Since eight years had passed between the original rendering of the judgment and the attempt to register the judgment in another district, which state ...


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