Opinion No. 71
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Samuel A. Hoagland, District
for restitution, affirmed.
D. Fredericksen, Interim State Appellate Public Defender;
Reed P. Anderson, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise,
Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Mark W. Olson, Deputy
Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
MELANSON, Chief Judge
Eugene Stewart appeals from the district court's order
for restitution following Stewart's plea of guilty to
operating a vehicle without the owner's consent. Stewart
argues that the district court abused its discretion in
ordering Stewart to pay restitution for vehicle repairs. For
the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
to a plea agreement, Stewart pled guilty to operating a
vehicle without the owner's consent, I.C. § 49-227,
and agreed to pay restitution for damages caused when he
drove the vehicle through a fence. At the restitution
hearing, the State presented testimony from an employee of
the owner of the vehicle, and produced documentation
supporting the estimated repair costs for the vehicle.
Stewart objected to the auto body shop's estimate of the
costs, arguing that the estimate was not relevant evidence.
Following a hearing, the district court ordered restitution.
Code Section 19-5304(2) authorizes a sentencing court to
order a defendant to pay restitution for economic loss to the
victim of a crime. The decision of 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. Bybee, 115 Idaho 541,
543, 768 P.2d 804, 806 (Ct. App. 1989). Thus, we will not
overturn an order of restitution unless an abuse of
discretion is shown. Richmond, 137 Idaho at 37, 43
P.3d at 796. When a trial court's discretionary decision
is reviewed on appeal, the appellate court conducts a
multi-tiered inquiry to determine whether the lower court
correctly perceived the issue as one of discretion, acted
within the boundaries of such discretion and consistently
with any legal standards applicable to the specific choices
before it, and reached its decision by an exercise of reason.
State v. Hedger, 115 Idaho 598, 600, 768 P.2d 1331,
the second and third requirements of this analysis, the trial
court must base the amount of restitution upon the
preponderance of evidence submitted by the prosecutor,
defendant, victim, or presentence investigator. I.C. §
19-5304(6); State v. Lombard, 149 Idaho 819, 822,
242 P.3d 189, 192 (Ct. App. 2010). Thus, the state must
prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, a causal
relationship between the defendant's criminal conduct and
the damages suffered by the victim. I.C. § 19-5304(7);
State v. Corbus, 150 Idaho 599, 602, 249 P.3d 398,
401 (2011); State v. Hill, 154 Idaho 206, 212, 296
P.3d 412, 418 (Ct. App. 2012).
determination of the amount of restitution, which includes
the issue of causation, is a question of fact for the trial
court. Corbus, 150 Idaho at 602, 249 P.3d at 401;
State v. Hamilton, 129 Idaho 938, 943, 935 P.2d 201,
206 (Ct. App. 1997). The district court's factual
findings with regard to restitution will not be disturbed on
appeal if supported by substantial evidence. Corbus,
150 Idaho at 602, 249 P.3d at 401; Lombard, 149
Idaho at 822, 242 P.3d at 192. Substantial evidence is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept to
support a conclusion. State v. Straub, 153 Idaho
882, 885, 292 P.3d 273, 276 (2013).
appeal, Stewart argues that the district court erred when it
admitted the estimate for the vehicle repair costs over his
objection. Stewart asserts that the estimate was prepared for
a different vehicle and therefore was not relevant evidence
to consider at the restitution hearing.
Idaho Rules of Evidence generally apply to restitution
hearings. I.R.E. 101(d)(7); see also I.C. §
19-5304(6) (parties shall have the right to present such
evidence as may be relevant to the issue of restitution). To
be admissible, evidence is required to be relevant. I.R.E.
402. Evidence that is relevant to a material and disputed
issue concerning the crime charged is generally admissible.
State v. Stevens, 146 Idaho 139, 143, 191 P.3d 217,
221 (2008). Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to
make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable
than it would be without the evidence. I.R.E. 401;
Stevens, 146 Idaho at 143, 191 P.3d at 221. Whether
a fact is of consequence or material is determined by its
relationship to the legal theories presented by the parties.
State v. Johnson, 148 Idaho 664, 671, 227 P.3d 918,
925 (2010). We review questions of relevance de novo.
State v. Raudebaugh, 124 Idaho 758, 764, 864 P.2d
596, 602 (1993); State v. Aguilar, 154 Idaho 201,
203, 296 P.3d 407, 409 (Ct. App. 2012).
argument on appeal is premised on the contention that the
estimate presented by the State at the restitution hearing
was for a vehicle different than the one Stewart drove into
the fence. Although the district court did not make a
specific finding that the vehicle referenced in the estimate
was the same vehicle driven by Stewart, such a finding is
supported by the record and is implicit in the district
court's ruling that the estimate was relevant. See
State v. Floyd, 159 Idaho 370, 372, 360 P.3d 379, 381
(Ct. App. 2015) (appellate courts are required to examine the
record to ...