United States v. Shepherd

Shepherd pleaded guilty under 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(2), for possessing several thousand images of child pornography. Shepherd had unpaid bills and a vehicle worth about $200, placing his total net worth at negative $1,739. Shepherd’s counsel asked the court to find that Shepherd was indigent and ineligible for the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), 18 U.S.C. 3014, assessment, noting that Shepherd had been paying $350 in monthly child support and will owe about $30,000 in support upon his release from prison, along with the $25,000 in court-ordered restitution. Shepherd’s counsel noted his limited education and the fact that he must register as a sex offender. The district court nonetheless ordered the $5,000 JVTA assessment. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Consideration of Shepherd’s earnings potential, along with his present finances, was appropriate under section 3014 If Shepherd serves his full, 96-month sentence, he will leave prison before he turns 40 years old, with many years of future employability. Shepherd has 20 years after his release from prison to pay the assessment. By budgeting, Shepherd need only save $250 each year or under $5 per week to stay on pace. Having determined that Shepherd was not indigent, the court had no discretion to waive the assessment. View "United States v. Shepherd" on Justia Law