Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. John T. Mitchell, District Judge; Hon. James D. Stow, Magistrate.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gutierrez, Judge
Order of the district court, on intermediate appeal, affirming magistrate's order of restitution, affirmed; order of the district court for reimbursement of costs for appointed counsel, affirmed.
Joshua Nathaniel Cottrell appeals from the district court's order, on intermediate appeal, affirming the magistrate's order of restitution after a guilty plea to obstructing an officer. Specifically, Cottrell argues: (1) there was no causal connection between the commission of the crime and the loss incurred; (2) the order of restitution is unconstitutional as applied; and (3) the amount of restitution is unreasonable under Idaho's criminal restitution statute. Cottrell also appeals the district court's order for reimbursement of costs for appointed counsel. For reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Cottrell pled guilty to obstructing an officer, Idaho Code § 18-705, on a charge which arose from Cottrell's conduct during his arrest on December 12, 2008, for other offenses. The State sought restitution in connection with the resisting and obstructing charge for injuries sustained by Officer Sullivan, the arresting officer. After sentencing, the magistrate held a two-part restitution hearing and found:
[T]he obstructing consisted of the Defendant failing to put his hands behind his back as directed by Officer Sullivan as part of the arrest process. The Defendant attempted to pull his right arm away from Officer Sullivan and plunged his left hand into his front left pants pocket. (The Defendant had previously been directed numerous times by Officer Sullivan to keep his hands out of his pocket and he had continuously returned his hands to his pockets.) As a result of the Defendant's conduct, which amounted to the criminal offense of Obstructing, Officer Sullivan attempted to gain control of the Defendant and in so doing twisted his right knee.
Evidence presented at the restitution hearing included: a list of costs incurred by the Idaho State Insurance Fund (ISIF), as worker's compensation insurer to Officer Sullivan, for surgery and treatment of a lateral meniscus tear in the officer's right knee; unrebutted testimony placing the date of injury as the date of Cottrell's arrest; and documentation of Officer Sullivan's pre-existing knee injury.
After argument from both parties, the magistrate took the matter under advisement and issued a written order awarding ISIF restitution in the amount of $24,921.47. The order included a finding that ISIF had denied any reimbursements for pre-existing injuries and had presented only those costs which arose from Officer Sullivan's injury occurring on the date of Cottrell's arrest. Additionally, the magistrate declined to include over $6,000 of costs, which it determined were not supported by sufficient evidence. Also, pursuant to the magistrate's restitution order, Cottrell's probation was amended to include monthly restitution payments by Cottrell in the amount of $250.
Cottrell appealed the order of restitution to the district court, arguing violations of Idaho statutes as well as state and federal constitutional principles. The district court affirmed the magistrate's order, finding there was substantial evidence to support the restitution award, the amount was reasonable, and the constitutional arguments were inapplicable to the case. Based on the magistrate's order appointing counsel to Cottrell, which required Cottrell to pay reimbursement for the cost of appointed counsel at the conclusion of the case, the district court ordered reimbursement of costs for appointed counsel in the amount of $1,000. Cottrell timely appeals to this Court.
We directly review decisions by the district court, rendered in its appellate capacity. State v. Hudson, 147 Idaho 335, 337, 209 P.3d 196, 198 (Ct. App. 2009). We examine the magistrate record for substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and to determine whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. Id. If those findings are so supported and the conclusions flow therefrom, and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court as a matter of procedure. Id.
The decision whether to order restitution is within the discretion of the trial court, guided by consideration of the factors set forth in Idaho Code § 19-5304(7) and by the policy favoring full compensation to crime victims who suffer economic loss. State v. Richmond, 137 Idaho 35, 37, 43 P.3d 794, 796 (Ct. App. 2002). We will not overturn an order of restitution unless an abuse of discretion is shown. An abuse of discretion may be shown if the order of restitution was the result of arbitrary action rather than logical application of the proper factors in Idaho Code § 19-5304(7). Richmond, 137 Idaho at 37, 43 P.3d at 796. In reviewing the trial court's exercise of discretion, this Court must determine whether the trial court: (1) correctly perceived the issue as one involving the exercise of discretion; (2) acted within the outer boundaries of its discretion and consistently with any legal standards applicable to specific choices it had; and (3) reached its decision by an exercise of reason. State v. Powell, 125 Idaho 889, 891, 876 P.2d 587, 589 (1994).
B. Whether a Causal Connection Exists for Restitution Purposes
Cottrell first argues the magistrate abused his discretion in awarding restitution because it failed to determine whether Cottrell's actions amounted to the elements of obstruction and to what degree, if any, those actions caused the harm to Officer Sullivan. He argues that in light of the fact Officer Sullivan had a pre-existing knee injury, the "but for" cause of the new injury could just as easily be the pre-existing condition. The State asserts the facts establish a direct nexus between the active resisting and obstructing conduct by Cottrell and Officer Sullivan's knee injury. Particularly, the State points out the ...