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State of Idaho v. Brent W. Higley

December 15, 2010

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BRENT W. HIGLEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Jerome County. Hon. John K. Butler, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gutierrez, Judge

2010 Opinion No. 85

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Order of restitution, affirmed.

Brent W. Higley appeals from the district court's order of restitution following his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit robbery. We affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Robert Hainline worked full-time at Wal-Mart and also as a clerk at a Maverik convenience store. During a shift at Maverik, he was confronted by a man armed with a gun who demanded all of the money from the till. After a few days off, Hainline returned to work, but after one day found that he could not "focus" and that he "panicked" whenever a customer entered. He sought the assistance of a counselor, who recommended that he quit his job at Maverik because of the symptoms he was experiencing that were consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hainline followed the counselor's advice, but continued to work his full-time job at Wal-Mart. Approximately two and a half months later Hainline was able to find a job at Burger King for a slightly lower hourly wage than he had received at Maverik. He continued to work both jobs for approximately two and a half months until he moved to another city.

Based on his role in the Maverik robbery, Higley pled guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to a period of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution. Pertinent to this appeal, Hainline requested restitution for lost wages for the period after he stopped working at Maverik and began working at Burger King. After a hearing during which Higley objected to an award of restitution, the court granted Hainline's request and ordered Higley to pay Hainline a total of $2,665.88. Higley now appeals the order of restitution.

II.

ANALYSIS

Higley contends that the district court erred in finding that Hainline's lost income was "economic loss" as defined in Idaho Code § 19-5304 and awarding restitution of approximately $2,700. Specifically, Higley contends restitution was not appropriate under the statute because Hainline testified that he had quit his job based on "purely emotional distress" and that any loss suffered by Hainline was in an effort to prevent future harm.

Orders for the payment of restitution to crime victims are governed by I.C. § 19-5304. State v. Gonzales, 144 Idaho 775, 777, 171 P.3d 266, 268 (Ct. App. 2007); State v. Taie, 138 Idaho 878, 879, 71 P.3d 477, 478 (Ct. App. 2003). The decision whether to require restitution is committed to the trial court's discretion, whose findings of fact will not be disturbed if supported by substantial evidence. State v. Schultz, 148 Idaho 884, 886, 231 P.3d 529, 531 (Ct. App. 2008); State v. Smith, 144 Idaho 687, 692, 169 P.3d 275, 280 (Ct. App. 2007). It is generally recognized, however, that courts of criminal jurisdiction have no power or authority to direct reparations or restitution to a crime victim in the absence of a statutory provision to such effect. Schultz, 148 Idaho at 886, 231 P.3d at 531; Gonzales, 144 Idaho at 777, 171 P.3d at 268; State v. Richmond, 137 Idaho 35, 37, 43 P.3d 794, 796 (Ct. App. 2002). Therefore, the trial court's exercise of discretion in ...


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