962 N.E.2d 898 (Ohio Mun. 2011), 11TRC05990(1), State v. Brown

Docket Nº:11TRC05990(1).
Citation:962 N.E.2d 898, 167 Ohio Misc.2d 45, 2011-Ohio-6994
Opinion Judge:WILLIAM A. GRIM, Judge.
Party Name:The STATE of Ohio v. BROWN.
Attorney:Tracy Woodall Meek, Athens City Prosecuting Attorney, for plaintiff. David G. Baer, Athens, for defendant.
Case Date:December 12, 2011
Court:Municipal Court of Ohio
 
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Page 898

962 N.E.2d 898 (Ohio Mun. 2011)

167 Ohio Misc.2d 45, 2011-Ohio-6994

The STATE of Ohio

v.

BROWN.

No. 11TRC05990(1).

Athens County Municipal Court, Ohio.

December 12, 2011

Page 899

Tracy Woodall Meek, Athens City Prosecuting Attorney, for plaintiff.

David G. Baer, Athens, for defendant.

WILLIAM A. GRIM, Judge.

[167 Ohio Misc.2d 46] {¶ 1} This matter came on for consideration of the memoranda of the parties regarding the issue of restitution ordered at defendant's, Patrick Brown's, November 8, 2011 plea hearing. At that time, the court ordered defendant to make restitution to the city of Athens in an amount not to exceed $2,443.97, with the exact amount to be later determined.

{¶ 2} The facts are not disputed. While driving under the influence of alcohol, defendant drove over a yield sign and into a stairway railing owned by the city of Athens. The parties raise no issue as to the offense's being the proximate cause of the damage, as to defendant's ability to pay, or as to the reasonableness of the claimed expenses.

{¶ 3} The issue reserved was as to the amount of restitution to be ordered, or more precisely, what claimed expenses are includable in the restitution calculation. It is defendant's position that restitution should be for only $516.10, the cost of materials used. It is the state's position

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that the time estimated to be used by the city employees, at their hourly rate including the costs of health insurance and all other fringe benefits, also be included, as well as a $50 per hour charge for the use of a city truck.

{¶ 4} Neither counsel nor the court have found any case authority directly on point, so we go forth in mostly uncharted territory. The resolution of this issue depends on the statutory construction of R.C. 2929.18(A)(1) and the definition of " economic loss" in R.C. 2929.01(M).

{¶ 5} The procedural standard of statutory construction is set forth in R.C. 2901.04(A) as follows:

[167 Ohio Misc.2d 47] Except as otherwise provided in division (C) or (D) of this section, sections of the Revised Code defining offenses or penalties shall be strictly construed against the state, and liberally construed in favor of the accused.

The court finds that restitution is a criminal penalty and applicable definitions must be strictly construed against the state and liberally construed in favor of...

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