Partida v. U.S., Dept. of Justice (In re Partida)

Citation:
9th Cir. BAP No. NV-14-1482-JuKuPa (May 27, 2015)
Tag(s):
Ruling:
Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) overrides the operation of the automatic stay. MVRA provides that "[n]otwithstanding any other Federal law, ... [the United States may enforce a judgment imposing criminal fines] ...against all property or rights to property of the person fined." In concluding that the MVRA overrides the operation of the automatic stay, the BAP turned to statutory construction principals and the Ninth Circuit U.S. v. Novak case at 476 F.3d 1041. As noted in Novak, there was an unambiguous Congressional statement to override all conflicting federal statutes when the MVRA was enacted. The BAP noted that the 2005 BAPCPA amendments (including certain amendments to §362) do not change the result of the broad MVRA statement that enforcement of restitution obligation shall be allowed "notwithstanding any other Federal law". Although the bankruptcy court found that § 362(b)(1) provided an exception to the automatic stay, the BAP declined to decide the issue since the MVRA precludes enforcement of the automatic stay.
Procedural context:
Bankruptcy court denied Debtor's motion for contempt order against USDOJ for alleged violation of the automatic stay. Appeal then taken to BAP.
Facts:
Debtor was convicted of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets. In addition to 18 months in federal prison, Debtor was ordered to pay criminal restitution penalties totaling $193,337.33. Debtor filed a chapter 13 petition, listed the criminal restitution obligation on her schedules, and noticed USDOJ in the petition. After Debtor's chapter 13 plan was confirmed, USDOJ garnished money from Debtor's pension and other retirement benefits.
Judge(s):
JURY, KURTZ, and PAPPAS, Bankruptcy Judges.

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