State of Alabama
from Talladega Juvenile Court (JU-02-100089.08 and
petitions were filed in the Juvenile Court of Talladega
County, charging D.A.H. with first-degree arson, see
§ 13A-7-41, Ala. Code 1975, and second-degree arson,
see § 13A-7-42, Ala. Code 1975. Following a
hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated him delinquent and
committed him to the custody of the Department of Youth
Services. On May 11, 2018, the court held a restitution
hearing and awarded $7, 408.33 in case number
JU-02-100089.08, and $69, 177.92 in case number
JU-02-100089.09. D.A.H. filed a postjudgment motion asking
the court to amend or vacate its order, but that motion was
denied. D.A.H. appeals the juvenile court's order
requiring him to pay restitution.
and Procedural History
November 9, 2017, Officer Chris Vinson with the Sylacauga
Police Department filed delinquency petitions against D.A.H.
Those petitions charged D.A.H. with first-degree arson for
intentionally setting fire to a building, in violation of
§ 13A-7-41, Ala. Code 1975 (JU-02-100089.08), and with
second-degree arson for burning a barn which contained cars,
motorcycles, and other items, in violation of §
13A-7-42, Ala. Code 1975 (JU-02-100089.09). A delinquency
hearing was held during which D.A.H. denied the charges
against him. As a result of that hearing, the juvenile court
adjudicated him delinquent and committed him to the custody
of the Department of Youth Services. The State then moved for
a restitution hearing, and that motion was granted.
11, 2018, a restitution hearing was held during which the
juvenile court heard testimony from victims David Thornton
and Kim Smith. Thornton testified that his barn, along with
the motorcycles, rebuilt automobiles, and automobile parts
inside the barn, was damaged by the fire set by D.A.H. and
his accomplices. According to Thornton, the total cost of the
damage to that property was $203, 100. He further testified
that, as a result of the incident, he was going to have to
pay an estimated $22, 000 to clean up the damage. On
cross-examination, the defense questioned Thornton
extensively about those amounts. The State and the defense
later stipulated to a claim from Thornton's insurance
company, Progressive Insurance, for restitution in the amount
of $4, 467.75.
Kim Smith testified as to the damage that was done to her
rental property. Specifically, she testified that her trailer
and the appliances and furnishings inside the trailer were
all damaged in the fire started by D.A.H. and his
accomplices, which resulted in a total of $22, 225 in
property damage and included the estimated $1, 500 she would
have to spend to clean up the property and to remove the
resulting trash and debris. On cross-examination, the defense
questioned Smith extensively about those amounts.
grandfather, Calvin Parrett, was the only witness who
testified on D.A.H.'s behalf. At the end of the
restitution hearing, the court took the matter under
advisement. It also stated on the record that it believed
that children ought to be responsible for the damage they
17, 2018, the juvenile court issued a restitution order in
which it ordered D.A.H. to pay Smith $7, 408.33 and to pay
Thornton $69, 177.92. On May 31, 2018, and June 7, 2018,
D.A.H. filed what appeared to be identical motions to alter,
amend, or vacate the juvenile court's restitution order.
In those motions, D.A.H. argued that the court's
restitution order was contrary to this Court's holding in
D.J.W. v. State, 705 So.2d 521, 524
(Ala.Crim.App.1996). Specifically, he argued that the Court
failed to consider all the relevant factors required by
D.J.W. in awarding restitution and that the State
failed to prove that the property had been accurately valued
by the victims.
hearing was held on D.A.H.'s motions on June 21, 2018.
The primary argument asserted by D.A.H. during that hearing
was that restitution was primarily about the rehabilitation
of the delinquent child and that the juvenile court's
order was contrary to that principle. D.A.H. also asserted
that he had no job, no education, and no means to pay the
restitution. Finally, he argued that the State had failed to
prove that the damaged property had been accurately valued by
the victims. D.A.H.'s motion was denied. Thereafter,
D.A.H. filed a timely notice of appeal.
argues that the juvenile court abused its discretion by
ordering him to pay "nearly $80, 000 in restitution that
was unsupported by any documented evidence aside from the
victims' testimony." (D.A.H.'s brief, p. 9.)
According to D.A.H., the State failed to present any
documentary evidence to support the damages the juvenile
court awarded to Thornton and Smith. (D.A.H.'s brief, pp.
9-12.) As a result, D.A.H. contends that the amount of
restitution the juvenile court ordered him to pay
"constitutes a clear and flagrant abuse of discretion
and should be set aside." (D.A.H.'s brief, p. 12.)
well settled that "[t]he particular amount of
restitution is a matter which must of necessity be left
almost totally to the discretion of the trial judge."
Ex parte Stutts, 897 So.2d 431, 433 (Ala.
2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Moreover, the exercise of "[t]hat discretion should not
be overturned except in cases of clear and flagrant
abuse." Id. Additionally,
"'[t]he right of crime victims to receive
restitution is set forth in the Restitution to Victims of
Crimes Act, § 15-18-65 et seq., Ala. Code 1975
("the Act").' Roberts v. State, 863
So.2d 1149, 1152 (Ala.Crim.App.2002). Section 15-18-65
"'The Legislature hereby finds, declares and
determines that it is essential to be fair and impartial in
the administration of justice, that all perpetrators of
criminal activity or conduct be required to fully compensate
all victims of such conduct or activity for any pecuniary
loss, damage or injury as a direct or indirect result
thereof. The provisions of this article shall be construed so
as to ...