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State v. Kelley

Supreme Court of Idaho

February 27, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
THOMAS CAMPBELL KELLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 21

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Timothy L. Hansen, District Judge.

         District court award of restitution, affirmed.

          Bublitz Law PC, Caldwell, for appellant. Jessica B. Bublitz argued.

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

          BURDICK, Chief Justice

         Thomas Kelley 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 on evidentiary grounds. We granted the State's timely petition for review, and we now affirm the district court's award of restitution.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In June 2013, the State charged Kelley with trafficking marijuana. He initially pleaded not guilty and moved to suppress evidence seized in a traffic stop. The district court denied the motion to suppress. Kelley entered a conditional plea of guilty and reserved his right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. The Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress. State v. Kelley, 159 Idaho 417, 361 P.3d 1280 (Ct. App. 2015).

         In November 2014, the district court sentenced Kelley to eight years imprisonment, with a minimum one-year confinement followed by five years indeterminate. On February 6, 2015, the district court held a restitution hearing, where the State sought to recoup its prosecution costs under Idaho Code section 37-2732(k). To that end, the State submitted a written, but unsworn, statement as evidence of its prosecution costs. At the hearing, the district court granted Kelley's request for further time to review the State's evidence, and additional arguments were held on February 20, 2015 and March 5, 2015. The State initially requested $3, 584.50 in restitution, which reflects 25.5 hours of work billed at $140 per hour, and 0.1 hours billed at $145 per hour. However, at the March 5, 2015 hearing, the State provided a "more precise accounting" and requested $7, 328.50, which reflects 42.3 hours of work billed at $140 per hour, and 9.7 hours of work billed at $145 per hour. Kelley objected that the State's award would (1) violate due process; (2) punish him for exercising his Sixth Amendment rights to stand trial and present a defense; (3) violate equal protection; and (4) be unreasonable and excessive.

         Although the district court rejected Kelley's constitutional arguments, it found the State's request excessive. The district court reasoned that the State's (1) increased request reflecting additional hours was not supported by evidence; and (2) requested hourly rate ($140/$145) was excessive. Ultimately, the district court concluded the State was entitled to $2, 640, which reflects 35.2 hours of work billed at $75 per hour.

         Kelley appealed, and the Court of Appeals vacated the award and remanded. On appeal, Kelley raised constitutional arguments and contended the district court abused its discretion by failing to consider his financial circumstances. The Court of Appeals, however, did not address those arguments. Instead, it held that insufficient evidence supported the award because it was based only on the State's unsworn representations. We granted the State's timely petition for review.

         II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Is Idaho Code section 37-2732(k) constitutional under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?
2. Did the district court abuse its discretion by failing to consider Kelley's financial ability to repay ...

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