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In re J.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

September 18, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF J.S., Minor Child, STATE OF IOWA, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, District Associate Judge.

The State has appealed the denial of a restitution claim for injuries to a police officer arising out of a foot chase of a juvenile.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Bruce Kempkes, Assistant Attorney General, Mike Wolf, County Attorney, and Cheryl J. Newport, Assistant County Attorney, for appellant.

John J. Wolfe Jr., Clinton, for minor child,

Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

MULLINS, J.

In a juvenile delinquency proceeding, J.S. admitted to an amended charge of interference with official acts after he ran away from pursuing police officers. The State sought restitution for an officer who suffered a torn hamstring injury while chasing J.S. The juvenile court denied the request. The State appealed. We affirm.

BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEDURE

In July 2012, a Clinton, Iowa police officer observed a vehicle with a passenger he believed to be J.S., a juvenile subject to a juvenile detention order that had been outstanding for three months. The officer followed the vehicle until it pulled off to the side of the road and J.S. exited the vehicle. J.S. then extended both of his middle fingers, told the officer to "fuck off, " and ran away from the officer's location. The officer began a foot chase to apprehend J.S. Other officers arrived to assist. One of those officers, Sgt. St. Ores arrived, exited his vehicle, and while chasing J.S. heard a loud pop from his left leg and fell to the ground. St. Ores suffered significant pain in his left leg and hip area.

The officers apprehended J.S., and the State filed a delinquency petition alleging he committed a criminal violation of interference with official acts resulting in serious injury in violation of Iowa Code section 719.1(1)(2011), a class D felony. The State later amended the charge to interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor. J.S. admitted he committed the offense by having failed to stop running away when the police ordered him to so do.

Later, the State filed a motion for restitution seeking pecuniary damages for St. Ores exceeding $26, 000. J.S. resisted. In his investigative report admitted as an exhibit in the restitution hearing, St. Ores explained that when he joined the chase of J.S. he was running through an open field at approximately 3:00 p.m. on a July day. He stated: "While I was doing so, there was uneven ground, which I did not see. I lost my balance, fell, landing on my right leg, causing my left hamstring to rupture and tear from the bone." He got up, was in pain, and hobbled as he participated in the capture and arrest of J.S. Five days later, an MRI confirmed a hamstring rupture and that the hamstring muscle was significantly pulled from the bone.

The juvenile court found that the injuries to the victim did not meet the definition of pecuniary damages under Iowa Code section 910.1(3) and ordered no restitution for St. Ores. The State appealed.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Our review of delinquency proceedings is de novo. In re A.K., 825 N.W.2d 46, 49 (Iowa 2013). We review a restitution order for correction of errors at law. State v. Watts, 587 N.W.2d 750, 751 (Iowa 1998). "When reviewing a restitution order, 'we determine whether the court's findings lack substantial evidentiary support, or whether the court has not properly applied the law.'" State v. Klawonn, ...


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