United States of America v. Jones
ORDER Denying 4 Request for Hearing on Garnishment filed by Tommy Lee Jones. Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No. 17-51168
TOMMY LEE JONES,
Honorable John Corbett O’Meara
STATE OF MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S REQUEST FOR HEARING
This matter came before the court on defendant Tommy Lee Jones’ September
25, 2017 Request for Hearing about the Garnishment and Claim for Exemptions. The
government filed a response October 10, 2017. No reply was filed, and no oral
argument was heard.
Following trial by jury, Tommy Lee Jones was found guilty of one count of
advertising child pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(d)(1)(A) and (e); one count of
distribution of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2) and (b)(1); and one count
of receipt of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a)(2) and 2252A(b)(1). The court
sentenced Jones to 660 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
In addition, he was ordered to pay the $300 special assessment and to pay $10,000 in
restitution to Carol Hepburn, in trust for a victim identified as “Vicky.”
Jones has not made any payments toward his financial obligations. In an attempt
to recover them, the government obtained a writ of garnishment for Jones’ future State
of Michigan income tax returns. Jones filed the instant motion for hearing, asserting
that he does “not owe $10,300 or any amount.” Jones br. at 2. He further contends,
“I do not know this victim and who ever they are, don’t know me.” Id.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
A judgment debtor may contest garnishment proceedings by filing a request for
hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 3202(d) or an objection under 28 U.S.C. § 3205(c)(5).
Both methods are subject to a 20-day time limit. 28 U.S.C. §§ 3202(d) and
The court deems Jones’ request for hearing timely; however, his objection fails
to state a cognizable ground for relief. Where the underlying judgment was not by
default, a judgment debtor can obtain relief from garnishment on only two bases: a
valid exemption or the government’s failure to comply with the statutory requirements
for the garnishment process. 28 U.S.C. § 3202(d). The judgment debtor bears the
burden of proof that a basis for relief exists. 28 U.S.C. § 3205(c)(5).
Defendant Jones’ objections to the writ of garnishment focus on his belief that
there are no victims to his criminal wrongdoing. However, his objections do not
provide a valid basis to set aside the writ. A restitution order is a final judgment, and
18 U.S.C. § 3664(o) lists only four circumstances in which a court may modify it.
None applies to Jones’ objections. Furthermore, tax refunds are not exempt from
garnishment when the government seeks to collect restitution in a federal case. United
States v. Henderson, 2014 WL 4209936, at 1* (E.D. Mich. Aug. 26, 2014).
It is hereby ORDERED that defendant Jones’ September 27, 2017 Request for
Hearing about the Garnishment and Claim for Exemptions is DENIED.
s/John Corbett O'Meara
United States District Judge
Date: October 25, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the
parties of record on this date, October 25, 2017, using the ECF system and/or ordinary
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