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United States v. Fromm

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 18, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PAUL FROMM, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JEFFREY T. GILBERT, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Paul Fromm's Motion for an Order Waiving Interest Payments on the Restitution Ordered on March 26, 1999 [24]. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Fromm pled guilty to a misdemeanor offense on November 11, 1998. He was sentenced on March 26, 1999 to five months of home confinement with electronic monitoring and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $94, 957.99. He also served a one-year term of supervised release, which successfully terminated on June 19, 2000. At the time of sentencing, the sentencing judge did not waive interest on the restitution payment and ordered Mr. Fromm to make a minimum payment of $50 per month. Mr. Fromm filed the instant Motion [24] with an accompanying Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion [33] asking the Court to enter an order, nunc pro tunc, waiving any and all interest payments on the restitution ordered by the Court on March 26, 1999 [19].

Mr. Fromm represents to the Court that he is unable to make restitution payments that are greater than the court-ordered $50 per month imposed at the time of sentencing. Mr. Fromm states that he and his wife receive disability benefits and that he cannot pay more than the court-ordered minimum amount. In his Motion, Mr. Fromm argues that "[t]he additional burden of interest simply makes an impossible situation worse." Fromm's Motion [24], at 2.

DISCUSSION

18 U.S.C. § 3612(f) specifically requires that a defendant "shall pay interest on any fine or restitution of more than $2, 500, unless the fine is paid in full before the fifteenth day after the date of the judgment." See 18 U.S.C. § 3612(f)(1). Section 3612(f), however, further provides that a court may modify and/or waive the interest requirement on a fine or restitution amount greater than $2500 if a defendant demonstrates he does not have the ability to pay interest. See 18 U.S.C. § 3612(f)(3). Section 3612(f)(3) specifically states:

If the Court determines that the defendant does not have the ability to pay interest under this subsection, the court may -
(A) waive the requirement of interest;
(B) limit the total of interest payable to a specific dollar amount; or
(C) limit the length of the period during which interest accrues.

18 U.S.C. § 3612(f)(3). In other words, interest on a restitution order of more than $2, 500 is mandatory unless specifically waived by the sentencing judge. See 18 U.S.C. § 3612(f)(1).

Mr. Fromm argues that the Court has jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3612(f) to enter an order waiving the interest on the court-ordered restitution nunc pro tunc - in other words, to waive retroactively all of the interest that has accrued to date as well as all future interest in this case, which essentially would eliminate the interest requirement on the restitution that was ordered by the sentencing judge on March 26, 1999. The Court disagrees that it can waive the interest component of Mr. Fromm's sentence retroactively. The sentencing judge declined to waive interest at the time the sentence was imposed. This Court cannot undo the sentence that was imposed, and it will not interfere with the sentencing judge's decision.

Once the sentencing judge imposes a defendant's sentence, the district court has limited authority to revisit that sentence, and its authority must derive from a specific statute or rule. See United States v. Goode, 342 F.3d 741, 743 (7th Cir. 2003). A restitution order, like the other components of a criminal sentence, is a final judgment, and it can be modified post-judgment only under limited circumstances. Id. (citing Carlise v. United States, 517 U.S. 416 (1996)). 18 ...


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