Restitution for Crime Victims Case In Arizona

Under our constitution, crime victims have a constitutional right to prompt restitution. See Ariz. Const. art. 2, 2.1(A)(8). Thus, a court must order a defendant convicted of a criminal offense to pay restitution for the full amount of the economic losses suffered by the victim. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. ("A.R.S.") 13-603(C)(Supp. 1999). In determining the amount of a restitution award, a court "shall consider all losses caused by the criminal offense or offenses for which the defendant has been convicted." A.R.S. 13-804(B)(Supp. 1999). Although eligible losses do not include consequential damages, see A.R.S. 13- 105(14) (Supp. 1999), the restitution statute "is quite broad, and we have allowed restitution for a wide variety of expenses caused by the conduct of persons convicted of crimes." State v. Baltzell, 175 Ariz. 437, 439, 857 P.2d 1291, 1293 (App. 1992). Therefore, a court must order restitution "for actual damages, that are the natural consequences of the defendant's conduct or when the court determines that the losses were foreseeable, considering the nature and character of defendant's criminal actions." State v. Morris, 173 Ariz. 14, 18, 839 P.2d 434, 438 (App. 1992). The majority opines that this case is "far closer" than State ex. rel McDougall v. Superior Court, 186 Ariz. 218, 920 P.2d 784 (App. 1996). See ante at P 9. But, in fact, McDougall resembles this case only in that the trial court denied restitution. See 186 Ariz. at 219, 920 P.2d at 785. In McDougall, as the majority here correctly points out, the defendant's criminal conduct in leaving the scene of a vehicular accident did not cause or aggravate injuries suffered by the accident victims. See ante at P 8; 186 Ariz. at 220, 920 P.2d at 786. Consequently, restitution was not proper because the defendant's criminal conduct did not cause the losses for which restitution was sought. See id. However, the majority concedes that the losses to "Porter's victims in this case, do fall within the intended preventive scope of the statute."