Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Patel

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

October 22, 2019

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellant,
v.
VIVEK A. PATEL, Appellee.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. LC2018-000192-001 The Honorable Patricia A. Starr, Judge

          Phoenix City Prosecutor's Office, Phoenix By Jennifer Booth Counsel for Appellant

          Michael J. Dew Attorney at Law, Phoenix By Michael J. Dew Counsel for Appellee

          Arizona Crime Victim Rights Law Group and National Crime Victim Law Institute, Scottsdale By Randall Udelman Counsel for Co-Amici Curiae

          Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Diane M. Johnsen joined.

          OPINION

          WINTHROP, JUDGE

         ¶1 The State appeals the superior court's judgment reversing the municipal court's restitution order of $61, 191.99. The State challenges the constitutionality of Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 28-672(G) (2016), which capped criminal restitution for specified driving offenses at $10, 000.[1] For the following reasons, we hold that § 28-672(G) is unconstitutional, reverse the superior court's restitution order, vacate any resulting restitution judgment, and reinstate the municipal court's restitution order.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2 In municipal court, Vivek Patel was convicted of violating A.R.S. § 28-672(A), which criminalizes moving violations that cause serious physical injury or death. On behalf of the victim, the State requested restitution of $61, 191.99 and argued the $10, 000 restitution cap under A.R.S. § 28-672(G) was unconstitutional. The municipal court agreed and ordered Patel to pay the amount the State requested. Patel appealed the restitution order in superior court. The superior court held the $10, 000 cap constitutional and reversed the municipal court's order. The State timely appealed the superior court's final judgment.[2]

         ANALYSIS

         ¶3 Because Patel's case began in municipal court, our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing the facial validity of the statute at issue, A.R.S. § 28-672(G). See A.R.S. § 22-375(A); State v. Russo, 219 Ariz. 223, 225, ¶ 4 (App. 2008). We review the constitutionality of a statute de novo. Russo, 219 Ariz. at 225, ¶ 4. We presume the statute is constitutional, and we will not declare a statute unconstitutional unless it conflicts with the federal or state constitution. Graville v. Dodge, 195 Ariz. 119, 123, ¶ 17 (App. 1999). The challenging party bears the burden to show a statute is unconstitutional. Id.

         ¶4 Generally, Arizona statutes require a person convicted of a criminal offense to pay the victim the full amount of the victim's economic loss. See A.R.S. § 13-603(C); accord A.R.S. § 13-804 ("Restitution for offense causing economic loss . . ."). However, A.R.S. § 28-672(G) limits restitution for victims of specified criminal driving offenses to $10, 000. This subsection was enacted in 2006 when the legislature created the crime of causing serious physical injury or death by a moving violation; before that time, a moving violation constituted only a civil violation. See Amended Senate Fact Sheet, H.B. 2208, 47th Leg., 2d Reg. Sess. (Mar. 27, 2006). Criminalizing these offenses resulted in a right to a restitution award in favor of the victim of such offenses; however, the legislation capped restitution at $10, 000. Id.[3]

         ¶5 Arizona voters amended our state constitution in 1990 to add the Victims' Bill of Rights ("VBR"). See Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 2.1 (approved by election Nov. 6, 1990); State v. Roscoe, 185 Ariz. 68, 70 (1996). The VBR enshrines a victim's right to seek "prompt restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victim's loss or injury." Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 2.1(A)(8). The State argues this provision constitutionally ensures a victim's right to a restitution award for full economic loss. Patel contends that nothing in the VBR prohibits a statutory cap on restitution. He argues that the VBR only ensures a victim "prompt" restitution, and that if the electorate intended to provide "full" restitution to victims, it would have said so.

         ¶6 When interpreting the VBR, our primary goal is to effectuate the electorate's intent. See McGuire v. Lee, 239 Ariz. 384, 387, ¶ 10 (App. 2016) (citation omitted). The best indication of that intent is found in the provision's plain language. Id. If ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.