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People v. Turn

Court of Appeals of Michigan

October 11, 2016

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DAKOTA LEE TURN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Lapeer Circuit Court LC No. 13-011493-FC

          Before: Saad, P.J., and Jansen and M. J. Kelly, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         Defendant, Dakota Lee Turn, appeals by leave granted[1] from the trial court's order of restitution following his plea of guilty to a charge of assault with intent to commit murder, MCL 750.83. The trial court sentenced Turn as a third habitual offender, MCL 769.11, to serve 18 ½ to 35 years in prison for the conviction. Additionally, the court ordered Turn to pay restitution to Nathaniel Scramlin, the individual he assaulted, and Scramlin's insurer. On appeal, Turn challenges the court's ability to order him to pay restitution to Scramlin for his loss of accumulated sick, personal, and vacation time. Because we conclude that the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim's Rights Act, MCL 780.751 et seq., requires full restitution to crime victims, we affirm.

         I. BASIC FACTS

         During the plea hearing, Turn admitted that he stabbed Scramlin several times in the back and side. As a result of Turn's assault, Scramlin was taken to the hospital, received numerous stitches, remained hospitalized for two and a half to three days, and, pursuant to his doctor's orders, was unable to immediately return to work following his release from the hospital.

         At sentencing, the trial court ordered Turn to pay $17, 744.44 in restitution. Turn moved for resentencing, challenging the propriety of the restitution order. The trial court scheduled a restitution hearing, where it heard testimony from Scramlin. Following the hearing, the court ordered Turn to pay $7, 957.86 to Scramlin's insurer for actual medical expenses and $100 to Scramlin for the loss of his jacket.[2] The court ordered additional briefing and allowed for the submission of additional evidence on the question of whether Scramlin was entitled to restitution for the loss of accumulated sick, personal, and vacation time taken after the assault and, if so, how much he was entitled to receive.

         It is undisputed that Scramlin, who was employed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as a community assistance specialist, had to use 112 hours of sick, personal, and vacation time in order to recuperate from his injuries. Scramlin was compensated by his employer at an after-tax rate of $19.23 per hour for the time he used. Scramlin testified that the time he used was no longer available. He also stated that accumulated leave time was payable by his employer upon termination of employment.

         The trial court concluded that Scramlin had only received compensation for his time away from work by depleting his accumulated sick, personal, and vacation time. The court reasoned that the depletion of accumulated time represented a loss to Scramlin, who could not use the time in the future, either for its intended purpose or for monetary compensation upon termination of his employment. The court found that in order to award "full restitution" as required by MCL 780.766(2) Scramlin needed to be compensated for the loss of accumulated leave time. The court found that the economic benefit of the lost time was $2, 153.77.[3]

         II. RESTITUTION

         A. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Turn argues that the trial court erred in ordering him to reimburse Scramlin for his lost sick, personal, and vacation time. We review a trial court's factual findings related to an order of restitution for clear error. People v Garrison, 495 Mich. 362, 366-367; 852 N.W.2d 45 (2014). A factual finding is clearly erroneous where "the reviewing court is left with a definite and firm conviction that an error occurred." People v Fawaz, 299 Mich.App. 55, 60; 829 N.W.2d 259 (2012) (citation and quotation omitted). A trial court's restitution order is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. People v Gubachy, 272 Mich.App. 706, 708; 728 N.W.2d 891 (2006). "An abuse of discretion occurs when the court chooses an outcome that falls outside the range of reasonable and principled outcomes." People v Pinkney, ___ Mich.App. ___, ___; ___ N.W.2d ___ (2016) (Docket No. 325856); slip op at 11 (citation omitted). Questions of statutory interpretation are reviewed de novo. Gubachy, 272 Mich.App. at 708.

         B. ANALYSIS

         In Michigan, a crime victim has a constitutional "right to restitution." Const 1963, art 1, § 24. The right to restitution is further set forth in both section 16 of the Crime Victim's Rights Act, MCL 780.766, and in the general restitution statute, MCL 769.1a. Both statutes define "victim" as "an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission" of a crime. MCL 780.766(1); MCL 769.1a(1)(b). Further, both statutes provide that a sentencing court must order a defendant convicted of a crime to "make full restitution to any victim of the defendant's course of conduct that gives rise to the conviction[.]" MCL 780.766(2); MCL 769.1a(2). Our ...


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