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United States v. Neuhard

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 30, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiffs,
v.
Jonathon William-Durand Neuhard, Defendant.

          DAVID R. GRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT'S REQUEST FOR RESTITUTION [155]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 9, 2015, Defendant Jonathon William-Durand Neuhard was indicted and charged with the following: (1) production of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2251(a); (2) receipt of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2); and (3) possession of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5)(B). See Dkt. No. 12. After trial, he was convicted on all three counts. Dkt. No. 145, p. 1 (Pg. ID 1365). On November 6, 2017, the Court sentenced him to periods of incarceration. Id. at p. 2 (Pg. ID 1366). Specifically, he was sentenced to 420 months on the production count, 240 months on the receipt count, and 120 months on the possession count. Id. All sentences to run concurrent with each other. Id.

         On January 19, 2018, the Government filed a brief detailing its position on restitution. Dkt. No. 155. The Government submitted a supplemental brief in further support of its position on March 9, 2018. Dkt. No. 159. Also on March 9, 2018, Neuhard briefed his position on restitution. Dkt. No. 160. Then, on March 15, 2018, the Court heard oral argument on this issue.

         Presently before the Court is the Government's request for restitution in this matter. Dkt. No. 155. The request is sufficiently briefed. For the foregoing reasons, the Court will GRANT the Government's request for restitution. Accordingly, the eldest of the two victims here (hereinafter “Minor Victim One” or “MV-1”) is entitled to $40, 356.00 for therapy and related costs.

         II. Discussion

         The Government requests $40, 356.00 in restitution for only Minor Victim One. This sum is intended to cover the cost of individual and family therapy (and related transportation costs) for the next six years, i.e. through the time Minor Victim One turns eighteen years old. The Court will find that the Government has proven the amount of Minor Victim One's loss by a preponderance of the evidence. Thus, the Court will GRANT the Government's restitution request. See Dkt. No. 155.

         A. Restitution Request

         All agree MV-1 is entitled to restitution and that she is a “victim” under the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2259.

         They disagree on only one issue: whether Neuhard's conviction offenses proximately caused a need for MV-1 to attend family therapy sessions, especially considering that therapy may address supposed conflicts amongst MV-1's family that had arisen before Neuhard's unlawful conduct. Because the Court will find the Government has proven proximate cause, the Court will grant the Government's request for restitution.

         The Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2259(a), “provides that a district court ‘shall order restitution for any offense' under Chapter 110 of Title 18, which covers a number of offenses involving the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography in particular.” United States v. Paroline, 134 S.Ct. 1710, 1718 (2014). All of Neuhard's conviction offenses fall under Chapter 110 of Title 18. See Dkt. No. 145, p. 1 (Pg. ID 1365).

         And in instructing district courts on how to set restitution for such offenses, the Act states “a broad restitutionary purpose.” Paroline, 134 S.Ct. at 1718. Specifically, “[i]t requires district courts to order defendants ‘to pay the victim . . . the full amount of the victim's losses as determined by the court, ' § 2259(b)(1), and expressly states that ‘[t]he issuance of a restitution order under this section is mandatory, ' § 2259(b)(4)(A).” Id. at 1718-19. In turn, the Act mandates that the Government show-by a preponderance of the evidence-“the amount of the loss sustained by a victim as a result of the offense.” 18 U.S.C. § 3664(e).

         Notably, restitution “is permissible only to the extent the defendant's offense proximately caused a victim's losses.” Paroline, 134 S.Ct. at 1722. “For harms to be ‘proximately' caused by the criminal conduct, they must be ‘reasonably foreseeable.' ” United States v. Gamble, 709 ...


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