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In re Knight

May 3, 1995

IN THE MATTER OF:

FRANK E. KNIGHT,

DEBTOR-APPELLANT.



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

No. 92 C 1494--Larry J. McKinney, Judge.

Before COFFEY and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges, and SKINNER, District Judge. *fn*

RIPPLE, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED NOVEMBER 8, 1994

DECIDED MAY 3, 1995

The case before us concerns the eligibility of a person filing a bankruptcy petition for relief under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. An individual may qualify as a chapter 13 debtor only if he has regular income, his non-contingent and liquidated unsecured debts do not exceed $100,000, and his noncontingent and liquidated secured debts do not exceed $350,000. See 11 U.S.C. sec. 109(e). In this case, the bankruptcy court concluded that Frank E. Knight was not entitled to chapter 13 relief because he had more than $100,000 in unsecured debt. Mr. Knight appeals the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's dismissal of his chapter 13 petition. Our review confirms that Mr. Knight's unsecured debts exceed the statutory limitation under chapter 13. We therefore affirm the district court's decision. *fn1

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Mr. Knight was the Town Court Judge of Mooresville, Indiana; he resigned on October 15, 1990. On November 7, 1991, Mr. Knight filed a voluntary chapter 13 petition. The State of Indiana, State Board of Accounts ("SBA"), timely filed an unsecured claim for $108,949.50. The SBA's claim was based on its audit of the Mooresville Town Court operations for the period from January 1, 1987 to October 15, 1990. In the report of the audit results, the SBA explained that its examiners had discovered 915 instances in which Town Court Judge Knight had failed to report traffic convictions to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles ("BMV"). For each reporting failure, the SBA report stated, the Judge incurred a liability of $100.00, based upon Indiana Code sec. 9-4-7-9(c) and (e). *fn2 The SBA examiners also discovered that Mr. Knight had misappropriated, diverted or failed to account properly for $17,449.50. It itemized its total claim against Mr. Knight as follows:

Excessive fines for traffic violations $16,118.00

Alternative sentencing 718.50

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