The Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday that a trial court did not err in letting the state present evidence of a victim’s loss for the first time at a restitution hearing. It affirmed an order that Kenneth Smith pay $1,380 to William Kirkham for missing CDs and coins.
Smith was convicted of Class D felony theft for stealing a radio, guitar, DVDs and a silver coin from Kirkham’s house while he was away. At the restitution hearing, Kirkham said he was also missing nearly 400 CDs and about $100 in cash in the form of silver dollars and half dollars. Smith objected, but the court allowed the testimony. It then determined the loss was $1,380.
The trial court asked if Smith could afford to pay $230 a month toward restitution, and Smith said he was paying $240 a month for home detention. The judge ordered Smith to pay the restitution first and then the court would address the home detention payments.
The COA found the trial court based its restitution order wholly on the acts underlying Smith’s convictions and that Kirkham’s testimony demonstrated his degree of loss attributable to Smith’s crime. Also, restricting evidence of the victim’s actual loss to that which the prosecutor uses to obtain a conviction might limit the amount the victim can recover under Indiana law, Judge Edward Najam pointed out in Kenneth Smith v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1212-CR-1017.
The judges also found the trial court looked into Smith’s ability to pay. Smith did not dispute that he could pay $240 a month for home detention so he could afford $230 for restitution every month.