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State v. Torrez

Court of Appeals of Idaho

March 10, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JACOB M. TORREZ, Defendant-Appellant

2014 Opinion No. 19

Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Ronald J. Wilper, District Judge.

Order for restitution and judgment, affirmed.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Ben P. McGreevy, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Ben P. McGreevy argued.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Mark W. Olson, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Mark W. Olson argued.

GRATTON, Judge. Judge LANSING and Judge MELANSON CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1278

[156 Idaho 119] GRATTON, Judge

Jacob M. Torrez appeals from the district court's order for restitution and judgment entered following his conviction for aggravated DUI.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A police officer responded to a report of a disturbance at the Kuna Skate Park. Witnesses reported that two men were threatening physical violence against people at the park. The officer located the men walking around a vehicle parked on the side of a road and observed that the men had slurred speech and glassy, bloodshot eyes. The officer identified one of the men as Torrez. The officer instructed the men not to drive and advised them that he would call a taxi. The officer waited for the taxi, but when he returned to where the vehicle had been parked, the vehicle and the men were gone. The vehicle was later involved in a hit and run accident. When officers pursued the vehicle, it hit a tree and rolled numerous times. Torrez, the driver of the vehicle, and the passenger were both severely injured.

Torrez entered an Alford [1] plea to one count of felony aggravated DUI, Idaho Code § 18-8006, and the State dropped charges of leaving the scene of an accident and driving without privileges. The plea agreement contemplated that Torrez would agree to pay restitution on all charges. The district court imposed a unified term of ten years with three years determinate.

At a restitution hearing, the State requested the district court to order Torrez to pay a total of $82,837.61 in restitution, including $79,518.55 to Ada County Indigent Services for amounts paid for medical services on behalf of the passenger of the vehicle. Torrez argued that the district court should reduce the restitution amount pursuant to principles of comparative negligence based on the passenger's voluntary act of riding in a vehicle with a person he knew to be intoxicated. The district court declined to apply comparative negligence principles and ordered Torrez to pay restitution as requested by the State, including paying restitution to Ada County Indigent Services in the amount of $79,518.55. Torrez timely appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS

Torrez claims that the district court abused its discretion by failing to apply comparative negligence principles in determining appropriate restitution. The decision whether to order restitution, and in what amount, is within the discretion of a trial court, guided by consideration of the factors set forth in I.C. § 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); State v. Russell, 126 Idaho 38, 39, 878 P.2d 212, 213 (Ct. App. 1994). The trial court is directed by statute to base the amount of economic loss to be awarded upon the preponderance of ...


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