In this pro bono matter, Horvitz & Levy LLP represented Kristi Kaplon, whose husband was murdered by David Armstrong. Armstrong subsequently pled guilty in California state court to manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years in jail. Armstrong was also ordered to pay $4 million in criminal restitution. Armstrong then filed for bankruptcy and sought to have the state court criminal restitution order discharged. The bankruptcy court and the district court rejected Armstrong’s claim and Armstrong appealed.
Horvitz & Levy was retained by Kristi to respond to Armstrong’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that Armstrong’s argument is “squarely precluded” by Kelly v. Robinson, 479 U.S. 36, 49-50 (1986), which held that any condition of a state court criminal judgment cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.