United States v. Savage, No. 19-1308 (3d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
At Savage’s sentencing hearing for his 2005 drug, money laundering, and witness tampering convictions, the judge stated that the $5,000 fine was “due immediately.” The judge “recommended” participation in the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, under which the Bureau periodically takes money from an inmate’s prison trust account and forwards it to the court. Savage was subsequently charged with directing several killings from the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center. He was transferred to a Colorado federal super-maximum-security prison, where he is not permitted to work and earn money. Savage moved to modify the payment schedule under 18 U.S.C. 3572(d)(3), which provides that a court can modify a judgment that “permits payments in installments.”
The Third Circuit affirmed the denial of the motion. The sentencing court never permitted payment in installments but required immediate payment. Section 3572(d)(3) does not apply where the fine is due immediately. While the court “recommended” that Savage “participate in” the Program, nothing in section 3572(d) precludes the Bureau from setting a payment schedule to satisfy a fine that was due immediately. The court’s recommendation did not transform his fine payable immediately into one subject to installments. After exhausting his administrative remedies, Savage may object to the Bureau’s collection mechanism and seek an alternate payment schedule by filing a petition under 28 U.S.C. 2241.