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COA reverses restitution for public transportation, pain and suffering

February 7, 2018

An Indiana trial court abused its discretion in ordering a man to pay restitution on the costs a woman incurred for having to take public transportation after he criminally damaged her car and the costs of her pain and suffering, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

In July 2017, Jimmy Person pleaded guilty to multiple felony drug convictions, as well as charges of felony resisting law enforcement and misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury. Person was sentenced to an aggregate of 11 years and was ordered to pay $7,284 in restitution to Rosa Bailey, whom he injured when he crashed his car into Bailey’s car while fleeing from police.

The restitution order covered Bailey’s medical expenses and the value of her car, as well as the cost of her use of public transportation for the days she did not have a vehicle and her pain and suffering. Person argued on appeal in Jimmy Person v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1708-CR-1737, that the Marion Superior Court abused its discretion in ordering him to cover the costs of the latter two expenses, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday.

Judge Melissa May wrote in a four-page opinion that the cost of public transportation and pain and suffering are not considered under Indiana’s restitution statute, Indiana Code section 35-50-5-3(a). The state also conceded that point, so the portion of the restitution order dealing with those cost considerations was vacated.

The case was remanded with instructions for the trial court to order Person to reimburse Bailey only for her medical expenses and the loss of her car in the amount of $2,985.

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