may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Jason Roger Ling, petitioner,
State of Minnesota,
Filed July 6, 1999
Jackson County District Court
File No. K8961097
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Susan K. Maki, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue S.E., Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Mark T. Steffan, Jackson County Attorney, Jackson County Courthouse, P.O. Box 274, Jackson, MN 56143-0274 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.[*]
Appellant Jason Roger Ling, who was convicted of stealing two motorcycles, contends the district court erred by ordering him to pay restitution for damage to the motorcycles that occurred while they were in the possession of law enforcement. We affirm.
A trial court has broad discretion to order reasonable restitution. State v. Olson, 381 N.W.2d 899, 900 (Minn. App. 1986). Whether a particular item of restitution fits within the statutory definition is a question of law fully reviewable by the appellate court. State v. Esler, 553 N.W.2d 61, 63 (Minn. App. 1996), review denied (Minn. Oct. 15, 1996).
The purpose of restitution is to compensate a crime victim for his or her loss by restoring the victim to his or her original financial condition. State v. Terpstra, 546 N.W.2d 280, 283 (Minn. 1996). The victim of a crime has the right to receive restitution as part of the disposition of a criminal charge. Minn. Stat. § 611A.04, subd. 1(a) (1998). A request for restitution may include
any out-of-pocket losses resulting from the crime, including medical and therapy costs, replacement of wages and services, expenses incurred to return a child who was a victim of a crime * * * to the child's parents or lawful custodian, and funeral expenses.
Id. In determining whether to order restitution and in what amount, the court shall consider: (1) the amount of economic loss sustained by the victim as a result of the offense; and (2) the income, resources, and obligations of the defendant. Minn. Stat. § 611A. 045, subd. 1(a)(1), (2) (1998). Where the victim's losses are directly caused by the defendant's conduct for which he or she was convicted, restitution is appropriate. Olson, 381 N.W.2d at 901; see In re Welfare of D.D.G., 532 N.W.2d 279, 282-83 (Minn. App. 1995) (defendant who made bomb threat against a school was liable for reward school district offered to help apprehend him because reward constituted "damages incurred" as result of appellant's conduct), review denied (Minn. Aug. 30, 1995).
Here, appellant was discovered with one of the stolen motorcycles and directed the police to the other. The owner of the motorcycles attempted to retrieve them from police before leaving the state for the winter, but was told by the police they were needed as evidence and could not be released. While in the possession of police, the motorcycles sustained rust damage. The district court ordered appellant to pay the cost of repairing the motorcycles. Appellant contends he was not responsible for damage to the motorcycles that occurred while they were in the possession of the police, and therefore he should not have to pay for the repairs. We disagree.
It is undisputed that the owner of the motorcycles suffered out-of-pocket losses because of the rust damage to the motorcycles. But for appellant's theft of the motorcycles, the motorcycles would not have been in the possession of the police and the owner would not have suffered those losses. We conclude that the owner's losses were caused by appellant's conduct and that to fully restore the owner to his original financial condition, restitution is necessary. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering appellant to pay restitution for the damage to the motorcycles.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by apointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.