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State v. Walker

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 12, 2019

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Chad Demonn Walker, Defendant and Appellant

          Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Bruce A. Romanick, Judge.

          Justin J. Schwarz, Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Matthew J. Arthurs, Bismarck, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          CROTHERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Chad Demonn Walker appeals from an amended judgment that included an order to pay restitution. We affirm.

         I

         [¶2] On July 10, 2018, Bismarck Police Officer Marquis observed Chad Demonn Walker riding a 2013 red Honda motorcycle. The motorcycle did not have a license plate and matched the description of a motorcycle stolen in Minot. Officer Marquis conducted a traffic stop and confirmed the motorcycle was stolen by checking the vehicle identification number. Officer Marquis arrested Walker.

         [¶3] Walker pled guilty to theft for possession of a stolen motorcycle. The motorcycle owner filed a victim impact statement requesting restitution for the cost of repairing the motorcycle. A restitution hearing was held and an amended criminal judgment was entered, ordering Walker pay $2, 410.69 in repairs for damage to the motorcycle.

         [¶4] Walker argues he pled guilty to possession of stolen property and was not accused of stealing or damaging the motorcycle. He further argues the damages are not related to his criminal offense and were not a direct result of his criminal action.

         II

         [¶5] The standard of review for restitution is well established.

"When reviewing a restitution order, we look to whether the district court acted within the limits set by statute, which is a standard similar to our abuse of discretion standard. A district court abuses its discretion if it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, if its decision is not the product of a rational mental process leading to a reasoned determination, or if it misinterprets or misapplies the law."

State v. Rogers, 2018 ND 244, ¶ 23, 919 N.W.2d 193 (citing State v. Bruce, 2018 ND 45, ¶ 4, 907 N.W.2d 773 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted)). "The district courts possess a 'wide degree of discretion when determining restitution awards.'" Rogers, at ¶ 23 (citing State v. Putney, 2016 ND 135, ¶ 6, 881 N.W.2d 663). "But, 'in determining whether or not the district court abused its discretion through misapplication or misinterpretation of the law,' we apply a de novo standard of review." Rogers, at ¶ 23 (citing State v. Kostelecky, 2018 ND 12, ¶ 6, 906 N.W.2d 77). "A district court's award of restitution to a crime victim is made under N.D. Const. art. I, § 25(1)(n) and N.D.C.C. § 12.1-32-08." Rogers, at ¶ 23. "The 'State has the burden of proving the amount of restitution by a preponderance of the evidence.'" Rogers, at ¶ 23 (quoting State v. Kleppe, 2011 ND 141, ¶ 28, 800 ...


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