Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Criminal Appeal From Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas
Trial No. B-1804638
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Ronald
Springman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Lora
Peters, Assistant Public Defender, for Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant-appellant Tranell Jones pleaded guilty to one count
of attempted misuse of a credit card in violation of R.C.
2923.02, a first-degree misdemeanor. On February 16, 2018,
Jones had used her employer's credit card, without her
employer's permission, to rent a storage container from
1-800-Pack-Rat, LLC ("Pack Rat"). Once the
employer, an elderly woman that Jones cared for, discovered
the unauthorized charge, she contacted the credit card
company, which promptly reversed the charge, resulting in an
economic loss to Pack Rat.
At sentencing, the trial court imposed three years of
community control and ordered Ms. Jones to pay $90.94 in
restitution to Pack Rat. Ms. Jones challenged the order of
restitution, arguing that Pack Rat was not the victim of her
crime and thus, not entitled to restitution. At Ms.
Jones's request, the trial court stayed the order of
Ms. Jones now appeals, bringing forth a single assignment of
error challenging the order of restitution. For the following
reasons, we overrule Ms. Jones's single assignment of
error and affirm the trial court's judgment.
When reviewing a trial court's restitution order in a
misdemeanor case, we apply an abuse-of-discretion standard.
State v. Gordon, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-170660,
2018-Ohio-3786 ¶ 6, citing State v. Lynn, 1st
Dist. Hamilton No. C-150569, 2016-Ohio-2849, ¶ 4.
R.C. 2929.18(A)(1) allows a trial court to order restitution
"by the offender to the victim of the offender's
crime * * * in an amount based on the victim's economic
loss." If the court imposes restitution, the statute
further provides that restitution may be made "to the
victim in open court, to the adult probation department that
serves the county on behalf of the victim, to the clerk of
courts, or to another agency designated by the court."
The issue of who constitutes a "victim" under R.C.
2929.18(A)(1) or to whom restitution may appropriately be
awarded under the statute is a question of law that is
reviewed de novo. State v. Cartwright, 12th Dist.
Fayette No. CA2016-11-018, 2017-Ohio-7212, ¶ 11.
Because "victim" is not defined in R.C. 2929.18,
this court has applied the definition of "victim"
found in R.C. 2930.01(H)(1), which defines a
"victim" as "[a] person who is identified as
the victim of a crime * * * in a police report or in a
complaint, indictment, or information that charges the
commission of a crime and that provides the basis for the
criminal prosecution * * * and subsequent proceedings to
which this chapter makes reference." State v.
Thornton, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-160501,
2017-Ohio-4037. Thus, this court, applying Thornton,
has held that unless a person or entity is a named victim as
set forth in R.C. 2930.01(H)(1), a trial court may not order
a defendant to pay restitution to that party. See State
v. Adams, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-180337,
2019-Ohio-3597, ¶ 15.
Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court has indicated that the
definition of victim found in R.C. 2930.01(H)(1) is not
applicable in determining whether a person or entity is a
victim for purposes of ordering restitution under R.C.
2929.18. See State v. Allen, Slip Opinion No.
2019-Ohio-4757, ¶ 13. But in this case the trial court
did not rely on the definition of victim found in R.C.
2930.01(H)(1) to determine that Pack Rat was a victim and
instead relied on Marsy's Law.
On February 5, 2018, the amendment to Article I, Section 10a
of the Ohio Constitution, known as Marsy's Law, became
effective. The amendment expands the rights afforded to
victims of crimes. State v. Lee, 12th Dist. Warren
No. CA2018-11-134, 2019-Ohio-4725, ¶ 12. Specifically,
Marsy's Law affords the right to "full and timely
restitution from the person who committed the criminal
offense or delinquent act." Ohio Constitution, Article
I, Section 10a(A)(7). Importantly, Marsy's Law defines
the term "victim" as "a person against whom
the criminal offense or delinquent act is committed or who is
directly and proximately harmed by the commission of the
offense or act." Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section
Applying the definition of victim found in Marsy's Law,
we agree with the trial court and find that Pack Rat meets
the definition of victim for purposes of restitution. In this
case, Ms. Jones used the credit card she had stolen from her
employer to deceive Pack Rat into delivering its product to
Ms. Jones. While Ms. Jones's employer was a victim of her
crime, so was Pack Rat, which suffered actual harm; i.e.,
economic loss, as a proximate result ...