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National Crime Victim Law Institute

State v. Pumphrey, — P.3d —, No. A153140, 2014 WL 5736682 (Or. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2014).

December 03, 2014

Defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of violating a stalking protective order (SPO) and the trial court imposed restitution totaling $2,674.76 for expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the crime.  The victim’s expenses included the costs of:  changing her phone number; changing the locks on her home; staying at a safe house during court proceedings; obtaining copies of police reports in another state; and taking one day off from work to facilitate the changing of her locks.  Defendant appealed the restitution judgment arguing that: (1) the costs did not constitute “economic damages” within the meaning of the restitution statutes because they were incurred after the violation of the SPO and performed in order to avoid future crimes; and (2) the state did not present evidence connecting the criminal act to the expenses, therefore there was no “causal connection” between the costs and the crime.  The appellate court consolidated defendant’s arguments, finding that they both turned on whether defendant’s criminal activity was a “but for” cause of the expenses the victim incurred.  The court noted that the “but for” standard did not require the expenses to be the direct result of defendant’s criminal activity, and that the court need only find some evidence in the record from which the trial court could have found that the disputed expenses resulted from defendant’s criminal activities.  The court, looking to the record, concluded that it did contain evidence to support an inference that the safety measures the victim took helped her manage the psychological trauma caused by defendant’s crimes.  As such, the court concluded that the record established that defendant’s criminal activity was a “but for” cause of the expenses that the victim incurred.  Accordingly, the court held that the trial court did not err in imposing restitution for the costs of the safety measures taken by the victim and affirmed the trial court’s judgment.