from the Superior Court in Yuma County, No. S1400CR201701293,
The Honorable Brandon S. Kinsey, Judge. AFFIRMED
County Public Defenders Office, Yuma, By Eugene Marquez,
Counsel for Appellant
Arizona Attorney Generals Office, Phoenix, By Jana Zinman,
Counsel for Appellee
Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Judge Jennifer M. Perkins and Judge Paul J. McMurdie
Defendant Carlos Leal appeals a restitution order requiring
him to pay $5,500 in funeral expenses for a man he shot and
killed in a bar. Leal does not challenge his murder
conviction or resulting prison sentence. He does not argue
the funeral expenses were unreasonable or unpaid. Instead,
because the restitution award went to the Quechan Indian
Tribe, rather than to a member of the victims family, Leal
argues the order was fundamental error. Because Leal has
shown no error, the restitution order is affirmed.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In December 2017, while sitting at a bar, Leal shot the
victim in the face at point-blank range, killing him. After
Leal walked out of the bar, he was arrested, and a jury later
convicted him of first-degree murder. The court sentenced him
to natural life in prison.
The presentence report requested $5,500 in restitution for
funeral expenses. The report stated the Tribe paid the
funeral expenses and attached a general ledger showing
payment of that amount by the Tribe to Yuma Mortuary &
Crematory. At sentencing, without objection or argument, the
court ordered Leal to pay $5,500 in restitution to the Tribe.
This appeal followed.
Leal challenges the restitution order, asserting the Tribe is
not a victim and that the funeral expenses were
indistinguishable from the routine expenses of the Tribe.
Because Leal did not object in the superior court, this court
reviews for fundamental error resulting in prejudice.
See State v. Escalante, 245 Ariz. 135, 140
¶ 12, 425 P.3d 1078, 1083 (2018). Issues of statutory
interpretation are reviewed de novo. State v. Lantz,
245 Ariz. 451, 453 ¶ 9, 430 P.3d 1262, 1264 (App. 2018).
I. The Tribe Properly Could Be Awarded Restitution
for Funeral Expenses.
Leal argues the Tribe must be a victim to collect
restitution, relying exclusively on A.R.S. § § 13-603(C) and
13-4401(19) (2019). As to A.R.S. § 13-4401(19), Leal shows
with some force that the Tribe may not have qualified as a
"victim" for purposes of notice, the right to be
heard and other provisions under Chapter 40 (Crime Victims
Rights) of A.R.S. Title 13. See ...