In re: The Morning Star Packing, Co.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Remedies
  • Date Filed: 03-29-2013
  • Case #: No. 13-71048
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam: Circuit Judges Pregerson, Graber, and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (“MVRA”), crime victims may file for restitution regardless of the civil remedies available to the victim or the defendant’s economic circumstances, unless determining restitution would “complicate or prolong the sentencing process” using a balancing test that the “need to provide restitution…is outweighed by the burden on the sentencing process.”

The district court denied restitution to The Morning Star Packing Company (“Morning Star”) under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (“MVRA”), the record suggests, because determining restitution would have been “an unduly complex and time-consuming exercise.” Morning Star filed a petition of a writ of mandamus pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3771, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (“CVRA”). Pursuant to the MVRA, a victim of an offense against property is eligible for restitution regardless of the defendant’s economic circumstances and other civil remedies available, and the court cannot deny restitution for those reasons unless “determining complex issues of fact related to the cause or amount of the victim’s losses would complicate or prolong the sentencing process to a degree that the need to provide restitution to any victim is outweighed by the burden on the sentencing process.” The Ninth Circuit held that the district court committed legal error in denying the restitution because it relied too heavily on the defendant’s claims that he “would be unable to satisfy any restitution award and that the victims could pursue relief through civil actions.” The panel further concluded that the record was not clear as to “whether the district court conducted the balancing test required by 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(c)(3).” GRANTED and REMANDED with instructions.

Advanced Search