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In re M.N.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

August 23, 2017

IN RE: M.N.

         Appeal From: Hamilton County Juvenile Court Trial No. 15-3141Z

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Alex Scott Havlin, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee State of Ohio,

          Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Julie Kahrs Nessler, Assistant Public Defender, for Appellant M.N.

          OPINION

          Mock, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant M.N. has appealed from the juvenile court's order imposing restitution for the victim's costs to rekey her home and her car. We find no merit to his assignment of error, and we affirm the juvenile court's judgment.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         {¶2} At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Sunday April 26, 2015, M.N. was stopped by the police as he was driving a stolen car. A complaint was filed in juvenile court charging M.N. with committing acts which, had he been an adult, would have constituted the offense of receiving stolen property in violation of R.C. 2913.51. M.N. entered into a plea agreement and admitted to a reduced charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle in violation of R.C. 2913.03. Following his adjudication, M.N. requested an evidentiary hearing to challenge the restitution amount of $1, 369.16.

         {¶3} At the restitution hearing, Carrie Meece, the victim of the offense, testified that, while she was at work, she noticed her car key was missing from her key ring. Two days later, her car was stolen from her work place on a Friday afternoon. She reported the car stolen that day, and the car was recovered at 2 a.m. that Sunday.

         {¶4} Meece testified that the vehicle sustained a fair amount of body damage, and that numerous items were stolen from the car. She prepared a list of all of the missing items and the cost to replace them. She also testified that her registration, which listed her home address, was in the glove compartment, and she kept a spare set of keys, which included her house keys, in the car. The car key that had been removed from her key chain was recovered from M.N. upon his arrest.

         {¶5} Meece spent $175 to rekey the car and $230.53 to rekey the home, for a total of $405.53. She rekeyed both because "the police recommended that we rekey everything because we didn't know if they had made another key from the vehicle, since they had the master key." She further explained that she rekeyed both for security purposes since her home address was on the registration papers.

         {¶6} The juvenile court ordered M.N. to pay restitution in the amount of $1, 369.16. M.N. is challenging the award of $405.53 to rekey the house and car.

         Law and Analysis

         {¶7} In one assignment of error, M.N. contends that the juvenile court abused its discretion in imposing restitution for the rekeying of the victim's home and car because the costs were noneconomic losses ineligible for restitution, and the costs were not caused by the offense of unauthorized use of a vehicle. This assignment of error is not well taken.

         {¶8} Generally, a decision to award restitution lies within the sound discretion of a juvenile court and will not be reversed on appeal absent an abuse of discretion. See In re MA.,2016-Ohio-1161, 61 N.E.3d 630, ¶ 12 (11th Dist.). "There must be competent and credible evidence in the record from which the court may ascertain the amount of restitution to a reasonable degree of certainty." State v. Seele, 6th Dist. Sandusky No. S-13-025, 2014-Ohi0-1455, ¶ 9. A trial court abuses its discretion by ordering restitution in an amount that does not bear a reasonable relationship to the actual loss suffered. (Internal citations omitted.) See ...


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