United States v. Simpson-El, No. 16-3107 (10th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
This appeal involved a criminal defendant’s obligation to pay restitution to his victims. Kapelle Simpson-El was convicted of crimes involving the sale of stolen cars. His sentence included a restitution obligation of $432,930.00. Since obtaining release, Simpson-El has paid at least 5% of his gross monthly income toward restitution. Simpson-El was injured while serving his prison sentence at a federal prison. The injury was allegedly exacerbated by inadequate medical attention and a lack of treatment, leading Simpson-El to sue the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. After obtaining release from prison, Simpson-El settled with the government for $200,000. The government sought modification of the restitution order based on a material change in economic circumstances, requesting an order for Simpson-El to pay the entire $200,000 as restitution. The district court granted the motion in part, applying $145,640 of the settlement funds toward restitution. The Tenth Circuit found a restitution payment schedule could be modified when the defendant’s economic circumstances materially change. Simpson-El appealed, arguing the settlement funds were not a “material change in economic circumstances.” Finding no reversible error in the district court’s restitution order, the Tenth Circuit affirmed.