Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Robey v. State (Ct. of Appeals)

Filed March 14, 2007 -- Opinion by Judge Glenn Harrell

Robey was convicted of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment and sentenced to three years imprisonment, all of which was suspended, and ordered restitution in an amount to be determined by the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation. The Division arrived at the figure of $42,260.75. During a separate restitution hearing, the Circuit Court required Robey to pay $42,342.74 in restitution. Robey unsuccessfully appealed his conviction and sentence to the Court of Special Appeals, and subsequently challenged the amount of his restitution order in the Circuit Court with a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence on the theory that Md. Code (2001), Crim. Proc. Article, §11-604(b) prohibits a restitution order in an amount exceeding $10,000. The Circuit Court denied Robey’s motion and Robey appealed to the Court of Special Appeals. Before that court could hear the case, the Court of Appeals granted a writ of certiorari, on its own motion, to consider Robey’s contention that the $10,000 statutory limit on restitution orders applies to adult defendants as well as child defendants and respondents and their parents.

The Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Crim. Proc., §11-604(b) precluded Robey’s interpretation because the thrust of the relevant subsection and the surrounding subsections deals exclusively with child defendants or respondents and their parents. Examining legislative intent, the Court noted that the predecessor statute from which §11-604(b) was derived also focused exclusively on restitution as applied to child defendants or respondents and their parents, and a subsequent revision further verified that the General Assembly did not intend to include adult defendants within the purview of the limit on restitution orders.

The Court further noted that its interpretation of the statute was consistent with the rehabilitative purpose of restitution as directed towards children in the juvenile justice system and that the limit prevented young offenders from being saddled with an insurmountable debt, which would frustrate the goals of rehabilitation.

The opinion is available in PDF.

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