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United States v. Skrine

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 25, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MELVIN DOUGLAS SKRINE, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion for Reconsideration [15].

I. BACKGROUND

On October 18, 2010, Defendant pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of theft of government property, specifically, Social Security benefit payments, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 641. On January 7, 2011, the Court sentenced Defendant to serve six (6) months imprisonment, followed by three (3) years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration ("SSA") in the amount of $138, 069.00. The Judgment and Commitment Order ("J&C") states:

Restitution is due and payable immediately. The defendant shall make restitution payments from any wages he may earn in prison in accordance with the Bureau of Prisons Financial Responsibility Program. If restitution is not paid in full at the time of the defendant's release, payment shall become a condition of supervised release to be paid at a monthly rate of at least $150.00, plus 25% of gross income in excess of $2, 300.00.

([8] at 5).[1]

On May 12, 2015, Defendant filed his "Unopposed Motion to Clarify Judgment" [11]. Defendant asserted that "he is supposed to receive $1, 769.00 a month" in Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") from SSA, but "because of the restitution debt, " SSA is withholding the entire amount of his monthly DIB payment. Defendant stated that SSA intends to withhold his DIB payments, which are his only source of income, until restitution is paid in full. Defendant argued that "it was [his] understanding based on the Judgment & Commitment... that this Court's intent was that the Defendant pay $150.00 per month plus 25% in gross income exceeding a monthly income of $2300 in restitution" and requested that the Court, pursuant to Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, amend the J&C to "achieve the intent of the Court" and order that SSA withdraw only $300.00[2] from Defendant's monthly DIB payment until restitution is satisfied. Defendant represented that the Government did not oppose this request.

On June 9, 2015, the Court, pursuant to Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, entered an Amended Judgment clarifying the restitution schedule of the original J&C. The Amended Judgment states:

With respect to restitution, the court orders that the Social Security Administration withdraw only $300.00 from the defendant's monthly payment until the debt owed to the [SSA] is satisfied or the defendant is determined to be no longer eligible to receive benefits. If the defendant is no longer eligible to receive Social Security benefits, he will be required to pay $50.00 per month to the U.S. District Clerk's Office for forwarding to the [SSA]. All these payments shall be made until the restitution has been paid in full.
The defendant shall apply all monies received from income tax refunds, lottery winnings, judgment, and/or any other anticipated or unexpected financial gains to any outstanding court-ordered financial obligations.

([14] at 5).

On June 12, 2015, the Government moved for reconsideration of the Amended Judgment, arguing that the Court in this criminal action lacks jurisdiction to enjoin SSA from withholding, pursuant to its authority under the Social Security Act, the entire amount of Defendant's monthly DIB payments.

In his Response to the Government's Motion for Reconsideration, Defendant argues that, by failing to respond to his Motion to Clarify, the Government ...


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