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State v. Linares

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

January 10, 2017

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
JERONIMO LINARES, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CR2015-103476-001 The Honorable Michael D. Gordon, Judge

         RESTITUTION ORDER VACATED

          Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Eric Knobloch Counsel for Appellee

          Maricopa County Public Defender's Office, Phoenix By Lawrence H. Blieden Counsel for Appellant

          Judge Donn Kessler delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Randall M. Howe joined.

          OPINION

          KESSLER, Judge:

         ¶1 Jeronimo Linares ("Linares") appeals the superior court's order that Linares pay $550 in restitution to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office ("MCAO") arising from his child abuse prosecution and conviction. Linares argues that the court erred in ordering restitution under Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") sections 13-603(C) (2016) and 13-804 (2016).[1] For the reasons that follow, we vacate the restitution order.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2 A jury found Linares guilty of one count of child abuse, a class four felony. Linares was then sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay $550 in restitution.

         ¶3 Linares' conviction arose from a preschool employee's noticing bruising on a child's thighs, stomach, arms, and neck. The preschool then notified the Mesa police, and the police determined that the child should undergo a forensic medical exam at the Mesa Family Advocacy Center. At the Advocacy Center, Nurse JB met with the police detective and was informed of the suspected child abuse. JB is an employee at the Phoenix Children's Hospital and conducts forensic examinations as a part of her employment. The MCAO contracts with the Phoenix Children's Hospital to conduct these evaluations at the Advocacy Center for a standard fee of $550 for use in criminal prosecutions.

         ¶4 JB conducted a medical forensic examination of the victim. As JB testified, she measured and photographed the bruises and recorded other evidence of trauma. The examination was then documented as a report for the State's investigation. As part of the examination, JB determined that abuse was the likely cause of the bruises. Importantly, neither JB's testimony at trial nor her report showed that she treated the victim for the bruises or recommended any medical treatment.

         ¶5 The superior court ruled Linares was obligated to pay $550 as restitution because the costs associated with the forensic examination were "neither purely investigative nor purely for the purposes of medical evaluation." Linares timely appealed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21 (2016), 13-4031 (2016), and 13-4033 (2016).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶6 We review restitution orders for an abuse of discretion. Statev. Lewis,222 Ariz. 321, 323, ¶ 5 (App. 2009) (citations omitted). An abuse of discretion occurs if the superior court misapplies the law or legal principles, or makes a decision unsupported by facts or legal policy. Gorman v. City of Phoenix,152 Ariz. 179, 182 (1987) (citation omitted). However, "we view the facts in the light most favorable to affirming the court's findings." In re Andrew A., 203 Ariz. 585, 586, ΒΆ 5 ...


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