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