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Restitution Order Upheld in Oregon Driving Case

Restitution Order Upheld in Oregon Driving Case

The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a trial court properly increased a defendant’s restitution obligation five months after sentencing.

Kirk Douglas Thompson was convicted of a driving offense after crashing into a stop sign and street light pole in Monmouth, Oregon.

The Monmouth Public Works Department requested restitution of $162.60 to repair the stop sign and the Monmouth Power & Light Department sought restitution of $1,694.37 to repair the damaged light pole.

The prosecutor offered both figures at sentencing, but did not inform the court of the light pole repair cost until just before the July 2010 hearing. The court ordered Thompson to pay $162.60, but not the $1,694.37, stating only that the prosecution “should have got their figure in.”

In September 2010, the City of Monmouth renewed its request for $1,694.37, arguing that denial of the requested restitution violated its right as a crime victim, “to receive prompt restitution from the convicted criminal who caused the victim’s loss or injury” under Article I, Section 42(1)(d), of the Oregon Constitution.

Five months after sentencing, the trial court held a December 2010 hearing on the city’s motion. Concluding that it improperly refused to order restitution for the light pole repair, the trial court entered an amended judgment imposing $1,856.97 in restitution.

In his appeal, Thompson argued that since his case was no longer pending when the city filed its motion, the trial court lacked jurisdiction and mandamus was its only recourse under Article I, Section 42(3)(b), which provides that a “victim may assert a claim for a right established in this section in a pending case, by a mandamus proceeding if no case is pending or as otherwise provided by law.” The Court of Appeals rejected Thompson’s argument, noting that the legislature adopted statutes, §147.500 to §147.550, to implement the provisions of Section 42. In doing so, it “has ‘otherwise provided by law,’ through [Or. Rev. Stat.] §147.515, that a crime victim may file a claim alleging a rights violation in the trial court.” The court added, “[t]he legislature chose not to make the right to seek relief in the trial court contingent upon whether a defendant’s case is ‘pending.’”

The Court also rejected Thompson’s argument “that...Or. Rev. Stat. § 137.106 required the trial court to either impose restitution in the initial entry of judgment or to issue a supplemental judgment imposing restitution within 90 days of the entry of judgment.” Section 137.106, “by its plain language, does not constrain the time in which a trial court may resentence a defendant as a means of remedying a violation of a victim’s constitutional rights,” the court held.

See: State v. Thompson, 306 P.3d 731 (Or. Ct. App. 2013).

Related legal case

State v. Thompson