Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Wadsworth

Supreme Court of Utah

April 4, 2017

State of Utah, Respondent,
v.
Scott C. Wadsworth Petitioner

         On Certiorari to the Utah Court of Appeals Third District, Salt Lake The Honorable Judge Vernice S. Trease No. 031908633

          Sean D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Tera J. Peterson, Asst. Att'y Gen., Salt Lake City, for respondent.

          Debra M. Nelson, Salt Lake City, for petitioner.

          Associate Chief Justice Lee authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Durrant, Justice Durham, Justice Himonas, and Justice Pearce joined.

          OPINION

          Lee, Associate Chief Justice.

         ¶1 In this case we are asked to interpret the terms of a provision of the Crime Victims Restitution Act, Utah Code section 77-38a-302(5)(b).[1] That provision sets standards for the calculation of "complete restitution." It states that "[i]n determining the monetary sum and other conditions for complete restitution, the court shall consider all relevant facts, including" six enumerated categories of economic loss.[2] Utah Code § 77-38a-302(5)(b)(i)-(vi). At issue here is one of the six enumerated categories - subsection 302(5)(b)(iv), which states that "the court shall consider . . . the income lost by the victim as a result of the offense if the offense resulted in bodily injury to a victim." Id. § 77-38a-302(5)(b)(iv).

         ¶2 The question presented concerns the effect of the if clause in this provision-whether it sets an exclusive limit on the availability of restitution for lost income or states only an exemplary factor of possible relevance to the court's analysis. This distinction is a decisive one in this case, which involves a claim for restitution by the victim of a sex crime committed by Scott C. Wadsworth. The State does not allege that the victim suffered bodily injury as a result of Wadsworth's crimes. It alleges only that Wadsworth's crimes led to the victim's depression, which required counseling and impacted her ability to work. The district court ordered Wadsworth to pay $12, 934 in lost income in addition to restitution of the costs of the victim's counseling.

         ¶3 Wadsworth challenged the lost income award on appeal, asserting that lost income is not available under the Crime Victims Restitution Act unless "the offense resulted in bodily injury to a victim." Id. The court of appeals affirmed. It observed that the statute directs the court to consider "all relevant facts" in determining complete restitution. State v. Wadsworth, 2015 UT App 138, ¶ 21, 351 P.3d 826. And it interpreted the enumerated categories in section 302(5)(b) as merely exemplary and not exclusive, noting that they identify only factors that are "includ[ed]" in the "relevant facts" to be considered. Id. (quoting Utah Code § 77-38a-302(5)(b)). Thus, the court of appeals held that section 302(5)(b) contains "no express language limiting the list of relevant facts a court must consider when awarding restitution." Id. ¶ 21. And it accordingly affirmed the lost income award entered by the district court against Mr. Wadsworth.

         ¶4 We reverse. We read the if clause of section 302(5)(b)(iv) as limiting. Thus, we hold that lost income is available as a component of complete restitution only "if the offense" in question "resulted in bodily injury to a victim." Utah Code § 77-38a-302(5)(b)(iv).[3]

         ¶5 The if clause expresses a condition.[4] It says that the court may consider "the income lost by the victim as a result of the offense if the offense resulted in bodily injury." Id. (emphasis added). And the bodily injury requirement holds as a condition only if it is an exclusive criterion-the sine qua non of a lost income award. We deem it as such.

         ¶6 The court of appeals' contrary conclusion robs the statute's if clause of its plain meaning. If lost income is available even absent evidence of bodily injury, then it cannot be said that the court may consider "the income lost by the victim as a result of the offense" only "if the offense resulted in bodily injury to the victim." Id. We reverse the court of appeals on that basis. We hold that section 302(5)(b)(iv) means what it says -"income lost by the victim" may be considered only "if the offense resulted in bodily injury."

         ¶7 This conclusion follows from the expressio unius canon of construction-the presumption "that the statutory expression of one term or limitation is understood as an exclusion of others." Nevares v. M.L.S., 2015 UT 34, ¶ 31, 345 P.3d 719. This presumption is perhaps at its height in the context of an "if-then" statement like the one at issue here. This is an unequivocal statement of a condition. And the condition would be eviscerated if we were to read the expressed condition as exemplary and not exclusive.

         ¶8 The statute, as the court of appeals noted, directs the court to "consider all relevant facts" in assessing "complete restitution." Utah Code § 77-38a-302(5)(b). And it sets forth a list of considerations that are "includ[ed]" among the "relevant facts" that the court may take into account. Id. With that in mind, we agree with the court of appeals to some extent. Section 302(5)(b) does not state an exclusive "list of relevant facts a court" may "consider when awarding restitution." Wadsworth, 2015 UT App 138, ¶ 21. The list is undoubtedly exemplary -an indication of some of the considerations that may be relevant to an assessment of "complete restitution."

          ¶9 But that does not mean that the listed considerations are without any limiting effect. In interpreting section 302(5)(b) we must consider all of the statute's terms. And those terms include not only the "all relevant facts" and "including" provisos, but also the conditional statement that lost income is to be considered "if the offense resulted in bodily injury to a victim." Utah Code § 77-38a-302(5)(b)(iv). That statement, as noted, is meaningless unless it limits the consideration of lost income to a case in which "the offense resulted in bodily injury to a victim." So, to give effect to that provision we must enforce that limitation. And, to give effect to the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.