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United States v. Span

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 9, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
COURTNEY SPAN, and, STACIA RICHARDSON SPAN, Defendants

          ORDER ON MOTION TO RECONSIDER CONTRIBUTION TO COST OF APPOINTED COUNSEL

          David H. Hennessy United States Magistrate Judge

         Defendants, husband and wife, jointly move for relief from an order of this court requiring each of them to contribute $250 per month to the cost of appointed counsel. See Docket No. 38. To that end, Defendants propose that all contributions they have made pursuant to the court’s order be applied to the restitution amount of $52, 389 which District Judge Hillman ordered. See Judgments filed August 4, 2016. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

         Factual Background

         Courtney Span and his wife Stacia Richardson-Span were originally charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to convert government property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Courtney Span was also charged with the substantive offense of theft of government property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641. See Docket No. 4. The complaint alleged, in substance, that for approximately four years after the death of Mrs. Span’s mother in 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Span failed to notify the Social Security Administration of the death, and instead collected and converted to their personal use more than $55, 000 in Social Security benefits intended for Mrs. Span’s mother. Id. ¶ 7.

         At the initial appearances of each Defendant, the court reviewed financial affidavits and requested supplemental financial information. See Docket Nos. 8 and 9. On the basis of these submissions, the court appointed counsel for each Defendant. Id. The court released Defendants with no financial condition. See Docket Nos. 11 and 12. However, after a hearing, the court ordered each Defendant to contribute $250 per month toward the costs of appointed counsel. See Docket Nos. 16 and 17. In relevant part, the order provided:

         [P]ursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(f), the court hereby orders as follows:

By no later than the last business day of each month while this case is pending, and beginning on December 30, 2015, Defendant shall mail by first class mail or hand deliver a check for $250 to the Clerk’s Office, U.S. District Court, 595 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608. The check shall be made payable to “Clerk, U.S. District Court, ” and on the check shall be noted the docket number of this case, which is 15-4401-DHH, and the words, “CJA payment.”[1]

Id.

         In February 2016, the United States filed a one-count information charging Defendants with Theft of Government Property and Aiding and Abetting. See Docket No. 19. The information alleged that the value of the property stolen was $52, 389. Id. On March 22, 2016, Defendants waived indictment and pleaded guilty to the information. See Docket Nos. 22-25. In written plea agreements, Defendants agreed to forfeiture of a total of $52, 389. See Docket Nos. 28 and 29. Judge Hillman scheduled sentencing for June 20, 2016, see Docket Nos 24 and 25; however, the United States moved to continue sentencing to July 12, 2016, see Docket Nos. 34 - 36. Sentencing was held on that date. See Docket Nos. 43-44. The judgments, filed on August 4, 2016, order Defendants to make restitution in the amount of $52, 389.[2]

         Analysis

         The Criminal Justice Act provides in relevant part:

Whenever the United States magistrate judge or the court finds that funds are available for payment from or on behalf of a person furnished representation, it may authorize or direct that such funds be paid to … the court for deposit in the Treasury as a reimbursement to the appropriation[.]

18 U.S.C. § 3006A(f).

         The Guide to Judiciary Policy also addresses an eligible defendant’s contribution to the cost of ...


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