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Montana: Extradition Costs Not Recoverable as Restitution

Montana: Extradition Costs Not Recoverable as Restitution

by Mark Wilson

The Montana Supreme Court has unanimously held that a restitution order for extradition costs is invalid.

Mark M. Macy, Jr. was convicted of various felony offenses in Montana. He was transferred to a pre-release center in October 2010, but absconded and fled to Idaho.

On February 7, 2011, Idaho police attempted to stop Macy’s vehicle for speeding. He led them on a high speed chase before police officers fired over a dozen rounds into his vehicle, injuring him and killing his wife.

Macy was arrested and extradited to Montana, where he pleaded guilty to escape.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with two suspended and ordered “to pay restitution to the State in the amount of $694.50 for the costs incurred in extraditing him back to Montana.”

The state Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s restitution order on February 11, 2014. Under Montana law, restitution may be collected by “a governmental entity only when that entity suffers property damage in the commission of a crime, or incurs costs in the investigation or apprehension of an escaped person.”

Noting that it had previously held that extradition costs do not constitute “property damage,” the Court agreed with Macy that the relevant inquiry was “whether the State incurred costs during ‘the apprehension or attempted apprehension of the escapee.’”

Finding that Idaho, not Montana, had “apprehended” Macy, the Supreme Court concluded “the statute does not include the separate cost of extraditing Macy back to the State of Montana as a recoverable item.” Accordingly, the Court held that the sentencing court lacked “statutory authority to impose the cost as restitution.” See: Montana v. Macy, 2014 MT 34, 318 P.3d 706 (Mont. 2014).

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Related legal case

Montana v. Macy