Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Puentes: Rule 35(b) does not authorize reduction of restitution

In U.S. v. Puentes, No. 14-13587 (Oct. 5, 2015), the Court held that a district court lacks authority to reduce the amount it had ordered in restitution when it grants a reduction in sentence to a cooperating defendant pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 35(b). The Court noted that, as its title suggests, the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act mandates restitution. Further, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(1) makes restitution mandatory “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law.” In addition, § 3664(o) lists the ways a restitution order can be modified; Rule 35(b) is not on the list. The Court also noted that a “correction” of sentence under Rule 35 is not the same thing as the “reduction” of a sentence.