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Sentencing – restitution — right to jury

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Sentencing – restitution — right to jury

The right to a jury does not apply to a restitution award.

“[W]hether a court judgment infringes upon someone’s life does not make the judgment inherently criminal. For example, a defendant who is found liable in a civil tort case could also be on the hook for a significant damage award. See, e.g., Kimberlin v. DeLong, 637 N.E.2d 121, 129 (Ind. 1994) (upholding a $1,610,000 jury verdict against the defendant in an intentional tort case). That type of award would surely infringe upon an individual’s financial freedom, but no one would argue that the damage award, imposed under the same preponderance of the evidence standard Wolfe essentially contests, invokes any Sixth Amendment concerns. And the degree to which Apprendi is extended has little value when answering the initial question before us: whether restitution is a criminal penalty. As we stated, Southern Union and the scope of Apprendi only come into consideration if we first conclude restitution is a criminal penalty. We decline to reach such a conclusion.”

“Wolfe has not provided us with a compelling reason as to why the holding in Southern Union—or this case in general— should be used as the vehicle to overturn our long-standing Circuit precedent that restitution is not a criminal penalty. The district court’s restitution order was not required to be supported by the jury’s fact-finding, and therefore, it did not violate Wolfe’s Sixth Amendment rights.”


11-3281 U.S. v. Wolfe

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Lozano, J., Bauer, J.

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