State v. Whetzel

In State v. Whetzel, 200 W. Va. 45, 488 S.E.2d 45 (1997), the Court observed that the West Virginia restitution statute "predicates an award of restitution upon a defendant's conviction of a felony or misdemeanor and upon the 'physical, psychological or economic injury or loss to the victim.'" 200 W. Va. at 48, 488 S.E.2d at 48. The Whetzel Court further explained that the clear intention of the Legislature in enacting W. Va. Code 61-11A-4(a) was to enable trial courts to require convicted criminals to pay all losses sustained by victims in the commission of the crime giving rise to the conviction. Any other interpretation would run counter to the legislative intent that 'all that is possible' be done, an intent set forth in W. Va. Code 61-11A-1(b). (Id.) The Court continued: As previously indicated, other jurisdictions have recognized that their statutes establishing or defining criminal offenses are distinct from their restitution statutes. They have also recognized that the fact that a criminal has been convicted of a particular offense defined in a particular statute does not govern the question of restitution. Rather, the separate restitution statute governs the restitution question. As are the situations involved in the foreign jurisdictions cited, West Virginia's restitution statute is separate from the statutes establishing various offenses. (Id. at 48, 488 S.E.2d at 48.)