Restitution & Causation in Florida

The Florida Second DCA has issued an opinion in M.P. v. State (2D10-2046) involving the issue of restitution on an accessory after the fact criminal charge. (For the full opinion, go here.)  The Court held that in order for restitution be ordered against a Defendant, there must be a significant relationship between the crime committed and damage to the victim.

For restitution to be imposed against M.P., the victim’s loss must be caused directly or indirectly by M.P.’s offense. See§ 775.089(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2009). There must be a significant relationship between the crime committed and damage to the victim. Gourley v. State, 590 So. 2d 482, 484 n.3 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) (stating the test and noting that a conviction for accessory after the fact is inconsistent with a finding that a defendant and codefendant acted in concert). When evidence does not show that a defendant acted in concert with a codefendant in causing the damages, the trial court should not impose restitution. Id. at 483-84; see also State v. Williams, 520 So. 2d 276, 277-78 (Fla. 1988) (holding that defendant was not required to pay restitution to the victim where damages to the victim were not caused by defendant’s leaving the scene of the accident); Milton v. State, 644 So. 2d 143, 144 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994) (holding that defendant convicted of theft but who was not associated with burglary could not be required to make restitution for any items not included in the information); Faulkner v. State, 582 So. 2d 783, 784 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991) (holding that restitution order may be sustained only where State has demonstrated a significant relationship between loss or damage sustained by victim and defendant’s acts in committing the offense for which he was charged and convicted).

 

 

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