Mitchell pled guilty to misdemeanor theft, resisting or obstructing an officer, and prostitution in exchange for the State’s agreement to dismiss charges for misdemeanor/battery, strangulation/suffocation, and felony theft. But when the State sought restitution for medical expenses incurred by the victim on the dismissed charges that involved physical contact, Mitchell objected because the victim’s injuries’ and expenses were not related to the crimes for which Mitchell was convicted and sentenced.
Under §973.20(1r), the circuit shall order the defendant to make full or partial restitution . . . to any victim of a crime considered at sentencing.” A “Crime considered at sentencing’ is defined as “any crime for which the defendant was convicted and any read-in crime.” §973.20(1g)(a). In this case, everyone agreed that Mitchell was not convicted or sentenced for battery, strangulation or felony theft. Nevertheless, according to the court of appeals:
¶11 The circuit court’s authority to order restitution for crimes considered at sentencing is limited by two requirements. See Hoseman, 334 Wis. 2d 415, ¶16. “First, the claimant of restitution must be a ‘direct victim’ of the crime.” Id. “Second, there must be a causal connection between the defendant’s conduct and harm suffered by the claimant.”
¶16 Further, in ordering restitution, courts do not focus narrowly on the elements of the defendant’s crime, but broadly on the defendant’s underlying course of conduct: “[A] trial court may take a defendant’s entire course of conduct into consideration including all facts and reasonable inferences concerning the defendant’s activity related to the crime for which [he] was convicted, not just those facts necessary to support the elements of the specific charge.” State v. Longmire, 2004 WI App 90, ¶13, 272 Wis. 2d 759, 681 N.W.2d 534 (bracketed material in original; internal quotation marks and quoted source omitted).
Mitchell noted that physical injury is not a natural consequence of misdemeanor theft and that the State dismissed its allegations regarding p[hycial injury or contact. To which the court of appeals replied:
¶19 I reject this argument because, to repeat, in deciding restitution issues, courts are to consider the “facts and reasonable inferences concerning the defendant’s activity related to the crime for which [he] was convicted, not just those facts necessary to support the elements of the specific charge.” See Longmire, 272 Wis. 2d 759, ¶13 (bracketed material in original; internal quotation marks and quoted source omitted). The fact that the dismissed charges against Mitchell were the only charges to include elements involving bodily injury or contact does not, by itself, matter. To illustrate, the causal connection inquiry in this case would be the same had Mitchell been charged only with the theft crime for which she was convicted.