State v. Zuniga

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 11-08-2017
  • Case #: A161931
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Aoyagi, J. for the Court; Egan P.J.; & DeHoog, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 137.103(4)(a) defines as a "victim," for the purposes of restitution awards, "[t]he person or decedent against whom the defendant committed the criminal offense, if the court determines that the person or decedent has suffered or did suffer economic damages as a result of the offense."

Defendant appealed a restitution award that was granted pursuant to Defendant's conviction of reckless and careless driving. Defendant assigned error to the trial court's restitution award to the other driver's health insurer. On appeal, Defendant argued that the insurer wasn't entitled to restitution because the other driver wasn't a "victim" for the purposes of ORS 137.103(4)(a), as the provision's application was restricted to "victims of crimes or violations that require injury to another person as an element of the offense." Defendant contended that the other driver qualified as a "victim" under ORS 137.103(4)(b) and, therefore, the health insurer was not entitled to recovery under ORS 137.103(4)(d). ORS 137.103(4)(a) defines as a "victim," for the purposes of restitution awards, "[t]he person or decedent against whom the defendant committed the criminal offense, if the court determines that the person or decedent has suffered or did suffer economic damages as a result of the offense." Upon reviewing the statutory language and legislative history of ORS 137.103, the Court of Appeals determined that the legislature intended for subsection (4)(a) to distinguish between direct victims and indirect victims when considering making an award of restitution. Accordingly, the Court found that the other driver qualified as a direct victim under ORS 137.103(4)(a) and, therefore, that the insurance provider qualified as a victim under 137.103(4)(d). Thus, the Court held that the trial court did not err in awarding restitution to the health insurer. Affirmed. 

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