Dolan v. US

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation130 S.Ct. 2533
Docket NumberNo. 09-367.,09-367.
PartiesBrian Russell DOLAN, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES.
Decision Date20 April 2010

130 S.Ct. 2533
560 US __

Brian Russell DOLAN, Petitioner,

No. 09-367.

Supreme Court of United States.

Argued April 20, 2010.
Decided June 14, 2010.

130 S.Ct. 2534


130 S.Ct. 2535


130 S.Ct. 2536

Pamela S. Karlan, Stanford, CA, appointed by this Court, for petitioner.

Toby J. Heytens, for respondent.

Sara N. Sanchez, Sheehan, Sheehan & Stelzner, P.A., Albuquerque, NM, Thomas C. Goldstein, Akin Gump, Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC, Pamela S. Karlan, Counsel of Record, Jeffrey L. Fisher, Stanford Law School, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford, CA, Amy Howe, Kevin K. Russell, Howe & Russell, P.C., Bethesda, MD, for petitioner.

Elena Kagan, Solicitor General, Counsel of Record, Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, Michael R. Dreeben, Deputy Solicitor General, Eric D. Miller, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Elizabeth D. Collery, Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for United States.

130 S.Ct. 2537

Justice BREYER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case concerns the remedy for missing a statutory deadline. The statute in question focuses upon mandatory restitution for victims of crimes. It provides that "the court shall set a date for the final determination of the victim's losses, not to exceed 90 days after sentencing." 18 U.S.C. § 3664(d)(5). We hold that a sentencing court that misses the 90-day deadline nonetheless retains the power to order restitution—at least where, as here, the sentencing court made clear prior to the deadline's expiration that it would order restitution, leaving open (for more than 90 days) only the amount.


On February 8, 2007, petitioner Brian Dolan pleaded guilty to a federal charge of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. 18 U.S.C. §§ 113(a)(6), 1153; App. 17. He entered into a plea agreement that stated that "restitution ... may be ordered by the Court." Id., at 18. The presentence report, provided to the court by the end of May, noted that restitution was required. But, lacking precise information about hospital costs and lost wages, it did not recommend a restitution amount. Id., at 27.

On July 30, the District Court held Dolan's sentencing hearing. The judge sentenced Dolan to 21 months' imprisonment along with 3 years of supervised release. Id., at 38. The judge, aware that restitution was "mandatory," said that there was "insufficient information on the record at this time regarding possible restitution payments that may be owed," that he would "leave that matter open, pending the receipt of additional information," and that Dolan could "anticipate that such an award will be made in the future." Id., at 39-40. A few days later (August 8) the court entered a judgment, which, among other things, stated:

"Pursuant to the Mandatory Restitution Act, restitution is applicable; however, no information has been received regarding possible restitution payments that may be owed. Therefore, the Court will not order restitution at this time." Id., at 49 (boldface deleted).

The probation office later prepared an addendum to the presentence report, dated October 5, which reflected the views of the parties, and which the judge later indicated he had received. Id., at 54. The addendum documents the "total amount of restitution" due in the case (about $105,000). Id., at 52. Its date, October 5, is 67 days after Dolan's July 30 sentencing and 23 days before the statute's "90 days after sentencing" deadline would expire. § 3664(d)(5).

The sentencing court nonetheless set a restitution hearing for February 4, 2008— about three months after the 90-day deadline expired. As far as the record shows, no one asked the court for an earlier hearing. At the hearing, Dolan pointed out that the 90-day deadline had passed. Id., at 54-55. And he argued that the law no longer authorized the court to order restitution. Id., at 60-64.

The court disagreed and ordered restitution. See Memorandum Opinion and Restitution Order in No. CR 06-02173-RB (D NM, Apr. 24, 2008), App. to Pet. for Cert. 47a. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 571 F.3d 1022 (C.A.10 2009). And, in light of differences among the Courts of Appeals, we granted Dolan's petition for certiorari on the question. Compare United States v. Cheal, 389 F.3d 35 (C.A.1 2004) (recognizing court's authority to enter restitution order past 90 days) and United States v.

130 S.Ct. 2538

Balentine, 569 F.3d 801 (C.A.8 2009) (same), with United States v. Maung, 267 F.3d 1113 (C.A.11 2001) (finding no such authority), and United States v. Farr, 419 F.3d 621 (C.A.7 2005) (same).



There is no doubt in this case that the court missed the 90-day statutory deadline "for the final determination of the victim's losses." § 3664(d)(5). No one has offered any excuse for the court's doing so. Nor did any party seek an extension or "tolling" of the 90 days for equitable or for other reasons. All the information needed to determine the requisite restitution amount was available before the 90-day period had ended. Thus, the question before us concerns the consequences of the missed deadline where, as here, the statute does not specify them.

In answering this kind of question, this Court has looked to statutory language, to the relevant context, and to what they reveal about the purposes that a time limit is designed to serve. The Court's answers have varied depending upon the particular statute and time limit at issue. Sometimes we have found that the statute in question imposes a "jurisdictional" condition upon, for example, a court's authority to hear a case, to consider pleadings, or to act upon motions that a party seeks to file. See, e.g., Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 127 S.Ct. 2360, 168 L.Ed.2d 96 (2007). But cf. Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455, 124 S.Ct. 906, 157 L.Ed.2d 867 (2004) (finding bankruptcy rule did not show legislative intent to "delineat[e] the classes of cases" and "persons" properly "within a court's adjudicatory authority"); see also Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, 559 U.S. ___, ___, 130 S.Ct. 1237, 1243-44, 176 L.Ed.2d 17 (2010) (discussing use of term "jurisdictional"). The expiration of a "jurisdictional" deadline prevents the court from permitting or taking the action to which the statute attached the deadline. The prohibition is absolute. The parties cannot waive it, nor can a court extend that deadline for equitable reasons. See John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. United States, 552 U.S. 130, 133-134, 128 S.Ct. 750, 169 L.Ed.2d 591 (2008).

In other instances, we have found that certain deadlines are more ordinary "claims-processing rules," rules that do not limit a court's jurisdiction, but rather regulate the timing of motions or claims brought before the court. Unless a party points out to the court that another litigant has missed such a deadline, the party forfeits the deadline's protection. See, e.g., Kontrick v. Ryan, supra, at 454-456, 124 S.Ct. 906 (60-day bankruptcy rule deadline for creditor's objection to debtor discharge); Eberhart v. United States, 546 U.S. 12, 19, 126 S.Ct. 403, 163 L.Ed.2d 14 (2005) (per curiam) (7-day criminal rule deadline for filing motion for a new trial).

In still other instances, we have found that a deadline seeks speed by creating a time-related directive that is legally enforceable but does not deprive a judge or other public official of the power to take the action to which the deadline applies if the deadline is missed. See, e.g., United States v. Montalvo-Murillo, 495 U.S. 711, 722, 110 S.Ct. 2072, 109 L.Ed.2d 720 (1990) (missed deadline for holding bail detention hearing does not require judge to release defendant); Brock v. Pierce County, 476 U.S. 253, 266, 106 S.Ct. 1834, 90 L.Ed.2d 248 (1986) (missed deadline for making final determination as to misuse of federal grant funds does not prevent later recovery of funds); Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Co., 537 U.S. 149, 171-172, 123 S.Ct. 748, 154 L.Ed.2d 653 (2003) (missed deadline

130 S.Ct. 2539

for assigning industry retiree benefits does not prevent later award of benefits).

After examining the language, the context, and the purposes of the statute, we conclude that the provision before us sets forth this third kind of limitation. The fact that a sentencing court misses the statute's 90-day deadline, even through its own fault or that of the Government, does not deprive the court of the power to order restitution.


Several considerations lead us to this conclusion. First, where, as here, a statute "does not specify a consequence for noncompliance with" its "timing provisions," "federal courts will not in the ordinary course impose their own coercive sanction." United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property, 510 U.S. 43, 63, 114 S.Ct. 492, 126 L.Ed.2d 490 (1993); see also Montalvo-Murillo, supra, at 717-721, 110 S.Ct. 2072. Cf., e.g., Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1); § 3162(a)(2) (statute specifying that missed 70-day deadline requires dismissal of indictment); Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 507-509, 126 S.Ct. 1976, 164 L.Ed.2d 749 (2006) ("The sanction for a violation of the Act is dismissal").

We concede that the statute here uses the word "shall," § 3664(d)(5), but a statute's use of that word alone has not always led this Court to interpret statutes to bar judges (or other officials) from taking the action to which a missed statutory deadline refers. See, e.g., Montalvo-Murillo, supra, at 718-719, 110 S.Ct. 2072 (use of word "shall" in context of bail hearing makes duty "mandatory" but does not mean that the "sanction for breach" is "loss of all later powers to act"); Brock, supra, at 262, 106 S.Ct. 1834 (same in context of misuse of federal funds); Barnhart, supra, at 158-163, 123 S.Ct. 748 (same in context of benefits assignments). See also Regions Hospital v. Shalala, 522 U.S. 448, 459, n. 3, 118 S.Ct. 909, 139 L.Ed.2d 895 (1998) (same in respect to federal official's reporting date).


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2 cases
  • Dolan v. United States, No. 09–367.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 14, 2010
    ...U.S. 605130 S.Ct. 2533177 L.Ed.2d 108Brian Russell DOLAN, Petitioner,v.UNITED STATES. No. 09–367.Supreme Court of the United StatesArgued April 20, 2010.Decided June 14, 2010.Pamela S. Karlan, Stanford, CA, appointed by this Court, for petitioner.Toby J. Heytens, for respondent.Sara N. Sanc......
  • U.S. v. Young, CRIMINAL ACTION NO. 1:10-CR-00006-TBR-2
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • September 11, 2012
    ...30 days following her judgment. Third, § 3664(d)(5)'s primary purpose is to protect victims not defendants. See Dolan v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2533, 2539 (2010) (recognizing that § 2664(d)(5) "seeks primarily to assure that victims of a crime receive full restitution."). Subsection (d)(......

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