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Johnson v. People

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

September 12, 2016

Donald Johnson, Petitioner
v.
The People of the State of Colorado. Respondent

         Certiorari to the District Court Adams County District Court No. 14CV30380

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Douglas K. Wilson, Public Defender Ari Krichiver, Deputy Public Defender Brighton, Colorado

          Attorneys for Respondent: Dave Young, District Attorney, Seventeenth Judicial District Michael J. Milne, Senior Deputy District Attorney Brighton, Colorado

          GABRIEL JUSTICE M

         ¶1 This case presents the narrow question of whether a motion to change a restitution payee from one victim identified in a restitution order to other victims identified therein (whom the first victim was obliged to pay but did not pay) constitutes a new restitution request that must comply with the statutory requirements for making restitution requests.

         ¶2 Petitioner Donald Johnson was convicted of careless driving-no injury, and the county court ordered him to pay $23, 435.20 in restitution for pecuniary losses suffered by, among others, (1) a woman whose vehicle he struck with his vehicle and (2) the woman's seven medical providers. Initially, the restitution payments were disbursed to the woman, who was obliged to pay her medical providers. After the People learned that the woman had not paid the providers, however, the People moved to change the restitution payee, so that the restitution payments would be disbursed directly to the providers. The court granted that motion.

         ¶3 Johnson then filed a motion for reconsideration. He argued that the People's request to change the restitution payee was effectively a new restitution request and was untimely. The county court rejected this argument and denied Johnson's motion.

         ¶4 Johnson appealed the foregoing orders to the district court, that court affirmed, and we granted certiorari.[1] Like the district court, we now conclude that on the facts presented here, the People's motion to change the restitution payee did not constitute a new restitution request.

         ¶5 Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶6 While driving carelessly, Johnson struck another vehicle, seriously injuring the woman who was driving that vehicle. Johnson subsequently pleaded guilty to careless driving-no injury, and the People sought a restitution award of $23, 435.20. The People's motion summarized their restitution request as follows:

LOST WAGES
$4, 357.12 May 12, 2008 through July 7, 2008 (8 weeks X 544.64/weekly)
RENTAL CAR
$749.99 June 4, 2008 through July 3, 2008
MEDICAL EXPENSES - (Expenses not covered by any insurance due to policy limits)
$169.62 CarePoint, P.C.
$1, 444.94 Medical Center of Aurora
$44.68 Radiology Imaging Associates, P.C.
$298.60 CACC Lowry
$244.82 University Physicians, Inc.
$144.51 Rural/Metro of Central Colorado
$40, 980.92 Denver Health ...

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