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State v. Sesic

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District

July 1, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DALE A. SESIC, Defendant-Appellant.

CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM MADISON COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. CRI20120039

Stephen J. Pronai, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney, Eamon P. Costello, for plaintiff-appellee

Thomas J.C. Arrington, for defendant-appellant

OPINION

PIPER, J.

{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Dale Sesic, appeals a decision of the Madison County Court of Common Pleas, ordering him to pay restitution of $43, 600 as part of his sentence for aggravated vehicular homicide.

{¶ 2} During the afternoon hours of February 3, 2012, Sesic and his friends consumed alcohol at the Crown Sports Bar. One of Sesic's friends received word that his grandmother was experiencing a medical emergency at the Green Meadows trailer park. Sesic agreed to drive his friend to the trailer park, and began to speed away from the Crown Sports Bar. As Sesic drove on Lafayette-Plain City Road at approximately 70 m.p.h, he came upon a vehicle that was stopped partially on the roadway in the northbound lane. Marilyn Payne was leaning through the passenger side window of the stopped car talking to her husband, Richard. Sesic hit the back of Richard Payne's car, which caused it to flip over and crush Marilyn. Marilyn died hours later from her injuries. Sesic, who had five previous convictions for OVI, was legally intoxicated at the time he crashed into Richard Payne's car.

{¶ 3} Payne was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and pled no contest to the charges. The trial court sentenced Sesic to 30 months in jail, a lifetime ban of his driver's license, as well as $43, 600 in restitution. Payne now challenges the trial court's order of restitution, raising the following assignment of error.

{¶ 4} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ORDERING DEFENDANT TO PAY RESTITUTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $43, 600.

{¶ 5} Sesic argues that the trial court erred in ordering him to pay restitution to Marilyn Payne's estate in the amount of $43, 600.

{¶ 6} While Sesic argues that the trial court erred in ordering restitution as it did, Sesic did not object to the trial court's ruling at the sentencing hearing. Therefore, Sesic has waived the issue on appeal except for plain error. State v. Jarrett, 8th Dist. No. 90404, 2008-Ohio-4868, ¶ 14; State v. Belbachir, 7th Dist. No 08BE24, 2009-Ohio-1511 ¶ 10.

{¶ 7} According to Crim.R. 52(B), "plain errors or defects affecting substantial rights may be noticed although they were not brought to the attention of the court." However, "[a]n alleged error does not constitute plain error unless, but for the error, the outcome of the trial clearly would have been otherwise. * * * Notice of plain error must be taken with utmost caution, under exceptional circumstances and only to prevent a manifest miscarriage of justice." State v. Baldev, 12th Dist. No. CA2004-05-106, 2005-Ohio-2369, ¶ 12.

{¶ 8} According to R.C. 2929.18(A)(1), a trial court has the authority to order a defendant to pay restitution to a victim or her estate for "economic loss" suffered as a result of the defendant's crime. R.C. 2929.01(L) defines economic loss as "any economic detriment suffered by a victim as a direct and proximate result of the commission of an offense and includes any * * * medical cost, or funeral expense incurred as a result of the commission of the offense." According to R.C. 2929.18(A)(1),

If the court imposes restitution, the court may base the amount of restitution it orders on an amount recommended by the victim, the offender, a presentence investigation report, estimates or receipts indicating the cost of repairing or replacing property, and other information, provided that the amount the court orders as restitution shall not exceed the amount of the economic loss suffered by the victim as a direct and proximate result of the commission of the offense.

For the court to ascertain the amount of restitution to a reasonable degree of certainty, the record must contain sufficient evidence, and the amount of restitution must bear a reasonable relationship to the loss suffered. State v. ...


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