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State v. Struhs

Court of Appeals of Idaho

May 19, 2014

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
KENNY CARL STRUHS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bingham County. Hon. Darren B. Simpson, District Judge.

Judgment of conviction and sentence for vehicular manslaughter, affirmed. Restitution order vacated and case remanded.

Sara B. Thomas, State Appellate Public Defender; Jason C. Pintler, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Jessica M. Lorello, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

LANSING, Judge

Kenny Carl Struhs appeals from his conviction for vehicular manslaughter. He contends that his sentence is excessive and that restitution to the decedent's spouse for health insurance premiums paid in replacement for the husband's lost employer-based insurance was awarded in error. We affirm the sentence, but vacate the challenged portion of the restitution award.

I.

BACKGROUND

Struhs, while under the influence of alcohol, ran a stop sign and collided with a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was killed and his six-year-old daughter was injured. Struhs drove away, wrecking his vehicle a short time later. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter, Idaho Code § 18-4006(3)(b), and leaving the scene of an accident causing injury or death, I.C. § 18-8007. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Struhs pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and the State dismissed the remaining felony. The district court imposed a unified sentence of fifteen years, with ten years fixed.

Thereafter, the State sought an award of victim restitution for the decedent's spouse. The district court awarded restitution for funeral expenses, medical expenses, and the decedent's lost wages up to the date of the sentencing hearing. Over Struhs' objection, the court also awarded $761.85 for health insurance premiums paid by the decedent's spouse to replace the less costly insurance that had previously been available through the decedent's employer. This restitution for insurance premiums was also calculated up to the date of the sentencing hearing.

On appeal, Struhs contends that the district court erred in awarding restitution for the health insurance premiums and that his sentence is excessive.

II.

ANALYSIS

A. Restitution for Insurance ...


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