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United States v. Blackwell

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 3, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Curtis Blackwell, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted March 8, 2017 [*] San Francisco, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California D.C. No. 3:91-cr-00285-MHP Richard Seeborg, District Judge, Presiding

          Curtis Blackwell, Jr., Lompoc, California, pro se Defendant-Appellant.

          Julie C. Reagin, Assistant United States Attorney; Sara Winslow, Chief, Civil Division; Brian J. Stretch, United States Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, San Francisco, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: Edward Leavy, William A. Fletcher, and John B. Owens, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[**]

         Criminal Law

         The panel affirmed the district court's order denying Curtis Blackwell, Jr.'s motion to set aside collection of a fine and restitution, which Blackwell was ordered to pay in a 1993 criminal judgment.

         Blackwell argued that under 18 U.S.C. § 3613(b)(1), his liability to pay the fine and restitution expired 20 years after his judgment was entered. At the time Blackwell's judgment was entered, the Victim and Witness Protection Act (VWPA) provided that a criminal defendant's liability to pay a fine expired either 20 years after the entry of judgment or upon the death of the defendant.The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 (MVRA) amended the VWPA to provide that the liability to pay a fine or restitution shall terminate the later of 20 years from the entry of judgment or 20 years after the release from imprisonment of the defendant.

         The panel held that the MVRA, and not the VWPA, applied because the MVRA's amendment merely increased the time period over which the government could collect the fines and restitution, and did not affect Blackwell's substantive rights. The panel rejected as meritless the argument that application of the MVRA violates the Ex Post Facto Clause.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         Curtis Blackwell, Jr., appeals pro se from the district court's order denying his motion to set aside enforcement of the fine and restitution ordered as part of his criminal judgment. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We affirm.

         I

         In 1993, Blackwell pled guilty to two counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), (d), and two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). Blackwell was sentenced to 357 months in prison and ordered to pay $10, 000 in fines and $4, 122 in restitution. In January 2013, Blackwell stopped paying his fines. After the government demanded in 2015 that he pay the remaining balance, Blackwell filed a pro se motion seeking to set aside collection of his fines and restitution. He argued that under 18 U.S.C. § 3613(b)(1), ...


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