U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Discharge of Debts Denied Based on Fraud, and Criminal Matters

In Reed v. City of Arlington, No. 08-11098, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in which debtors omitted a pending $1 million-plus judgment from their sworn statements and bankruptcy filings, the discharge of the debtor's debts is reversed where, to protect the integrity of judicial processes, judicial estoppel barred the trustee from collecting the judgment.

In US v. Gonzales, No. 09-20555, defendant's appeal from the district court's order, upon revocation of defendant's probation, to immediately pay the balance of a previously imposed fine, the court remanded where it was unclear whether the district court considered defendant's "financial resources," as required by 18 U.S.C. section 3572(a)(1) & (2), in ordering the immediate payment of that fine.

In US v. Williams, No. 09-30528, the court affirmed Defendant's conviction of illegal possession of a "Masterpiece MAC-9mm"-style assault rifle in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(1) and his corresponding 108-month prison sentence, where 1) undisputed witness testimony established that the gun at issue was found under defendant's seat in a vehicle -- the "paradigmatic constructive possession" scenario in which Rule 404(b) evidence is warranted; and 2) the district court's lengthy and weighted discussion of other significant, permissible factors belied defendant's argument that the alleged error affected his substantial rights.

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