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Teen must pay for electronic monitoring device through community service

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the order by a juvenile court that required a teen who cut off her electronic monitoring device to make restitution for the device through community service.

A.H. admitted to what would be a Class D felony theft if she was an adult and received a suspended commitment to the Indiana Department of Correction. After violating her probation, she was placed on electronic monitoring and signed an agreement that she would be required to pay for any damage or replacement costs of equipment.

A.H. cut off the device, left it in a park and ran away. At a dispositional hearing, the juvenile court ordered her to pay $575 in restitution for the device by way of performing community service, the amount specified in the electronic monitoring agreement. A.H. objected, but the court ordered her to perform the community service.

The same rule that applies in criminal cases – that a trial court is free to award restitution as part of the sentence when the plea agreement does not include restitution but the sentence is left open – should also apply in juvenile cases, the COA held. So even though no restitution was mentioned in the admissions agreement, the juvenile court could properly order it because the disposition was left open.

It does not matter that the juvenile court did not make a direct inquiry into A.H.’s ability to pay because she was not required to make monetary restitution. The trial court imposed the community service aspect based on A.H.’s mother’s recommendation.

Finally, the COA found the state established the actual amount of loss that happened when A.H. cut off her device. The evidence shows the teen signed the agreement that stated the electronic monitoring device was worth $575, and A.H. stipulated to that amount when she signed the agreement. This agreement was before the trial court and the amount was repeated by the probation officer, wrote Judge John Baker in A.H. v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1309-JV-450.

 

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