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State v. Cunningham

Supreme Court of Idaho

February 27, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JEREMY YORK CUNNINGHAM, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 19

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Lynn G. Norton, District Judge.

         District court award of restitution, vacated and remanded.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Brian R. Dickson, Deputy State Appellate Public Defender argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          BURDICK, Chief Justice

         Jeremy Cunningham appeals the Ada County district court's award of restitution entered under Idaho Code section 37-2732(k). The Idaho Court of Appeals vacated the restitution award, and we granted the State's timely petition for review. Because we conclude the State failed to support its request for restitution with sufficient evidence, we vacate and remand.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In September 2014, a jury convicted Cunningham of possession of a controlled substance. The district court imposed a unified sentence of five years, with one-and-one-half years fixed. On October 23, 2014, the district court held a restitution hearing, where the State sought to recoup its prosecution costs under Idaho Code section 37-2732(k). The State requested $2, 240, which reflects 16 hours of work billed at $140 per hour. The State submitted an unsworn written statement, entitled "Statement of Costs and Request for Restitution in a Drug Case" (Statement of Costs), as evidence of its prosecution costs.[1] Cunningham argued the hourly rate was unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence, but he offered no evidence or further arguments on his behalf. The district court awarded the State its requested prosecution costs, plus $100 "for lab fees under the Drug Donation Act." The award totaled $2, 340.

         Cunningham appealed, and the Idaho Court of Appeals vacated the award and remanded for further consistent proceedings. The Court of Appeals held that insufficient evidence supported the award because it was based only on the State's unsworn Statement of Costs. We granted the State's timely petition for review.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When addressing a petition for review, this Court will give "serious consideration to the views of the Court of Appeals, but directly reviews the decision of the lower court." State v. Schall, 157 Idaho 488, 491, 337 P.3d 647, 650 (2014).

         III. DISCUSSION

         This appeal brings to light Idaho Code section 37-2732(k). That statute permits the State to recoup its prosecution costs ...


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