November 13, 2015
In State v. Gerhardt, – P.3d –, No. A152760, 2015 WL 5439292 (Or Ct. App. Sept. 16, 2015), defendant pleaded guilty to strangulation. The trial court awarded restitution, including money for attorney fees that were incurred, in part, when seeking a civil protective order after defendant repeatedly violated a criminal no contact order following his arrest. Defendant appealed the restitution order, and the appellate court found that the attorney fees were not economic damages that the victim incurred as a result of defendant’s act of strangulation; rather, the court said that the fees “represent an expense that the victim concluded that she needed to incur as a result of conduct in which defendant had engaged after he had committed the crime [of strangulation].” In short, the appellate court held that seeking a protective order in the aftermath of strangulation was not sufficiently tied to the strangulation itself to justify restitution. This decision represents a misunderstanding of the impact of victimization and what it takes to survive. We must fight such outcomes in Oregon and nationwide. If you are aware of a trial or appellate court in the country denying restitution under similar circumstances, we want to know! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.