Friday, October 05, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 130

Summary of Decision October 5, 2012

Justice Voigt delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed in part.


Docket Number: S-12-0041

Appeal from the District Court of Weston County, Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Diane M. Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jeffrey Pope, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: October 5, 2012

Facts:  The appellant, Timothy J. Smith, entered a plea of “no contest” to one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.  He was sentenced to one year in jail and was ordered to pay restitution to the two victims of his crime.  On appeal, he claimed that the district court abused its discretion when it ordered that he pay a total of $335,387.26 in restitution, and that it acted unlawfully when it ordered that the appellant make a “bona fide effort” to pay the restitution within five years.  The Court affirmed the district court’s order regarding the amount of restitution, but found that it did not have the authority to impose a deadline on when the restitution must be paid.

1.                  Did the district court abuse its discretion when it ordered that the appellant pay $335,387.26 in restitution?

2.                  Did the district court have the authority to require the appellant to make a “bona fide effort” to have the total restitution paid within a five-year period?

Holdings:  The district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered the appellant to pay over $335,000 in restitution to the two victims.  The district court did not make a finding that the appellant would be unable to pay restitution and, therefore, was required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 7-9-102 and 7-9-103(c) to order that restitution be paid.  Further, the amount of restitution was reasonable, as it was based upon verifiable costs associated with injuries and property damage that were incurred by the victims as a result of the appellant’s criminal behavior.  However, the district court did not have the authority to require the appellant to make a bona fide effort to have the restitution amount retired within five years.  The Court vacated the five-year pay off requirement and affirmed the remainder of the appellant’s sentence, including the amount of restitution owed.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

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