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State loses restitution appeal; proof of damages and nexus to crime is just too skimpy

State v. Deris Huley, 2013AP682, 9/26/13 (1-judge ineligible for publication); case activity

It’s not often the court of appeals rules against the State.

 Huley pled no contest to a misdemeanor hit and run of an attended vehicle, as a repeater. See §346.74(5)(a).  The State sought restitution in the amount of $4,064.83 for the victim’s personal injuries.  Noting that “restitution is the rule and not the exception” and that “the victim need only show that the defendant’s actions were the precipitating cause of the injury and that [the injury] was the natural consequence of the actions,” the court of appeals nevertheless affirmed the denial of restitution.  See State v. Madlock, 230 Wis. 2d 324, 602 N.W.2d 104 (1999).

 ¶10      As in Madlock, the record in the present case is factually insufficient as to the victim’s damages.  The record is also insufficient to show the necessary nexus between Huley’s criminal conduct—leaving the scene of an accident—and the claimed damage.  In particular, the evidence is insufficient to show that Huley’s actions caused the accident and that his actions were thus the precipitating cause of the victim’s injury.

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