Court Upholds Restitution Award


Case: People v. London (Unpublished Opinion)

Issues:

Restitution; People v. Foster; People v. Turn; MCL 769.1a & d; § 16 of the Crime Victim’s Rights Act (MCL 780.766); People v. Fawaz; People v. Guajardo; Whether the restitution amount could exceed $20,000 due to the conviction for receiving & concealing stolen property having a value of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000; People v. Lockridge;People v. Corbin; Whether the evidence at the hearing supported the $26,750 valuation; People v. Cross

Summary:

Holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering restitution in excess of $20,000, that its finding of $26,750 was not clearly erroneous, and that its order of restitution was not an abuse of discretion, the court affirmed the trial court’s order of restitution. Defendant’s sole issue was his challenge to the $26,750 restitution order. Specifically, he argued (1) that the restitution amount could not exceed $20,000 due to his conviction for receiving and concealing stolen property having a value of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, and (2) the evidence at the hearing did not support the $26,750 valuation. He claimed that the restitution ordered to the victim —$26,750—was not supported by his conviction. He alleged that, because he was convicted of receiving and concealing stolen property $1000 or more but less than $20,000, any restitution awarded in excess of $20,000 was unconstitutional under Lockridge, because the court must have based any amount in excess of $20,000 on facts that were never submitted to a jury or proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The court disagreed. It recently “considered this argument and held that because restitution is not a penalty, a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right is not implicated. Further, we have held that ‘[n]othing in Lockridge suggests that its reasoning [regarding sentencing guidelines] encompasses restitution orders entered in conjunction with sentencing.’” Moreover, the trial court here “properly rejected this argument, finding that defendant was also convicted of second-degree home invasion, which does not require proof of any loss to the victim.” Defendant also claimed that the restitution amount ordered was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence because the value of the stolen items was “unverified.” However, “the trial court’s value determinations were supported by a preponderance of the evidence presented through the testimony of the victim and other witnesses, as well as the trial court’s review of some of the recovered items.”

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