Criminal Practice Tips
October 01, 2009
Criminal: Broad Restitution
State v. Wood, No. 081903155 (Utah Dist. Ct. Aug. 3, 2009)(order).
Earlier this year, the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic that NCVLI funds sought restitution for a domestic violence victim. Defendant opposed the motion, arguing that the victim lacked standing to request restitution independent of the prosecutor, and that the types of restitution requested were inappropriate. A Utah district court recently rejected these arguments, and found in favor of the victim. In rejecting defendant’s standing argument, the court concluded that a prosecutor’s statutory obligation to file a restitution claim with the court does not bar a victim from applying directly to the court for restitution. Indeed, as the court found, “a direct request from the victim setting forth actual losses and damages” would assist the court in determining an accurate restitution award. The court also found that the victim’s medical expenses, travel expenses, relocation expenses, and mental health counseling expenses were damages suffered as a result of defendant’s criminal conduct. As such, the court ordered defendant to pay the restitution requested for those expenses.