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United States v. Debruzzi

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

December 20, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Nathan Allen Debruzzi, Defendant.

          Nathan Allen Debruzzi, Petitioner-Defendant, Pro Se.

          Katharine T. Buzicky, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, counsel for the Government.

          RESTITUTION ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, Nathan Allen Debruzzi (“Defendant”) entered a plea of guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and 2252(b)(1) and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 108 months. (Doc. No. 42 at 1-2.) As a term of his plea agreement, Defendant agreed to payment of mandatory restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court. (Doc. No. 24 ¶ 4(f).) The United States of America (the “Government”) now moves for restitution. (Doc. No. 63.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the Government's request in part and orders the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $1, 000 per named victim, for a total amount of $2, 000.

         BACKGROUND

         According to the factual basis for Defendant's plea agreement, in December of 2015, Defendant knowingly distributed child pornography through the use of peer-to-peer networking software, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and 2252(b)(1). (Doc. No. 24 (“Plea Agreement”) ¶ 2(a)-(c).) Defendant agreed that the penalties for this offense include payment of mandatory restitution, with the amount to be determined by the Court. (Plea Agreement ¶ 4(f).) The parties agreed that 18 U.S.C. §§ 2259 and 3663A, the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (“MVRA”) apply, requiring the Court to order restitution, but did not agree to the amount to be ordered. (Id. ¶ 9.) Defendant agreed that the Court “may order Defendant to make restitution to any victims of his crimes regardless of whether the victim was named in the Indictment or whether the victim is included in the count of conviction.” (Id.)

         At sentencing on April 17, 2018, the Court imposed restitution as a mandatory condition and reserved determination of the amount for 90 days. (Doc. No. 43 at 4.) Defendant's former counsel negotiated a restitution agreement with attorneys representing victims from two commonly traded series of child pornography. (Doc. No. 63 (“Govt. Mot.”) at 2.) Through counsel, one group of victims withdrew their request and one agreed to restitution in the amount of $1, 000. (Id.)

         The Government supported the resolution and prepared a stipulation by the negotiated terms. (Id. at 2; see also Doc. 64 (unexecuted stipulation).) Before any agreement as to restitution was finalized, Defendant timely filed a pro se petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in which he alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. No. 48.) On October 23, 2019, the Court denied Defendant's motion in a Memorandum and Order that acknowledged the issue of restitution remained unresolved in this case. (Doc. No. 60 at 4, n.3.)

         The Government now seeks restitution for two victims, “Solomon” and “Andy, ” whose abuse is documented in series of child pornography from which Defendant had materials.[1] (Govt. Mot. at 2, 6.) Solomon previously agreed to $1, 000; Andy was not part of the negotiated resolution. (Id. at 2.) The Government submitted victim impact statements and reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children showing the quantity of victims' images that Defendant possessed to establish the harm suffered and ongoing injuries endured by the victims. (Doc. Nos. 65-67.) The Government notes that the prior negotiated amount of restitution for Andy was $1, 000 but suggests restitution in the amount of $3, 000 per victim is “an appropriate starting point, ” in keeping with the Government's customary request in such cases and the minimum authorized for “typical child pornography trafficking cases” under recently enacted legislation. (Govt. Mot. at 6-7 (citing the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-299, December 7, 2018, 132 Sta.t 4383).) The Government also recommends that the Court order a higher amount of restitution to Andy because Defendant had more files containing depictions of Andy's abuse than he did of Solomon's abuse. (Id. at 6.)

         Defendant does not dispute the basis for restitution in this case; however, he notes that he was never a party to the discussion or agreement by his former lawyer and any victims or the Government. (Doc. No. 69.) Defendant acknowledges the terms of the Plea Agreement and that he was apprised of the proposed stipulation and the Court's October 23, 2019 Order, but objects to the Government's motion on the ground that because no amount was determined within 90 days of his sentencing, the Government's motion is untimely. (Id.)

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the Government's request in part.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Timeliness of the ...


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