797 F.2d 125 (3rd Cir. 1986), 85-1676, United States v. Donaldson

Docket Nº:85-1676.
Citation:797 F.2d 125
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America v. Regina DONALDSON, Appellant.
Case Date:July 24, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 125

797 F.2d 125 (3rd Cir. 1986)



Regina DONALDSON, Appellant.

No. 85-1676.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 24, 1986

Argued June 4, 1986.

Rehearing and Rehearing In Banc Denied Aug. 27, 1986.

Edward H. Weis (argued), Defender Ass'n of Philadelphia, Federal Court Div., Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant.

Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr., U.S. Atty., Walter S. Batty, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., Chief of Appeals, Paul L. Gray (argued), Asst. U.S. Atty., Philadelphia, Pa., for appellee.

Before ADAMS, WEIS and HIGGINBOTHAM, Circuit Judges.


ADAMS, Circuit Judge.

Appellant, Regina Donaldson, was convicted of forging the payee endorsement on a United States Treasury check in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 510(a)(2) (Supp. I 1983), and of uttering the check in violation of 18

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U.S.C. Sec. 495 (1982). The district court imposed a $50 assessment against her upon each of the two convictions under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3013(a) (Supp. II 1984). The issue raised here is whether the district court properly interpreted Sec. 3013(a) as authorizing the imposition of a separate assessment for each offense of which a defendant is convicted, or whether Congress intended by Sec. 3013(a) to subject a defendant to a single assessment for all offenses of which she is convicted in the same proceeding.

We conclude that the district court correctly interpreted and applied Sec. 3013(a) to impose two $50 assessments upon appellant for her two felony convictions. We further hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's request that she be allowed an extension of time to pay the assessments.


Regina Donaldson was charged in a two-count indictment in August 1985 with forging and uttering a United States Treasury check in violation of 18 U.S.C. Secs. 495, 510(a)(2). She pleaded guilty to both counts on September 25, 1985. Prior to that time, the government had made clear its position that Donaldson could be subjected to an assessment on each count, if convicted, under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3013(a). That section provides:

(a) The court shall assess on any person convicted of an offense against the United States--

(1) in the case of a misdemeanor--

(A) the amount of $25 if the defendant is an individual; and

(B) the amount of $100 if the defendant is a person other than an individual; and

(2) in the case of a felony--

(A) the amount of $50 if the defendant is an individual; and

(B) the amount of $200 if the defendant is a person other than an individual

(b) Such amount so assessed shall be collected in the manner that fines are collected in criminal cases.

Inasmuch as Donaldson was charged with two felonies, the government argued that she was subject to a total assessment of $100. Donaldson, however, contended that Sec. 3013(a) authorized only the imposition of a single $50 assessment, since the two felonies with which she was charged had been joined in a single proceeding. When she entered her guilty pleas, she expressly reserved the right to contest the government's construction of Sec. 3013.

On August 29, 1985, Donaldson was sentenced to a two-year term of probation on each count, the terms to run concurrently; the imposition of any custodial sentence was suspended. Pursuant to Sec. 3013(a), the court levied two $50 assessments against Donaldson, one for each felony of which she was convicted.

At the time of the imposition of the assessments, Donaldson requested that she be allowed a period of one year to pay the assessments because of her poor financial condition. The district court denied this request.

In this appeal, Donaldson argues that the district court misinterpreted Sec. 3013(a) as authorizing that assessments be levied on a "per count" rather than a "per defendant" basis. She also contends that Sec. 3013(b) incorporates the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3565 (1982), as amended by Act of Oct. 30, 1984, Secs. 2, 12(a)(7), Pub.L. No...

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