Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Paul L. Macek, Judge.
A criminal defendant appeals the denial of his application for an order satisfying restitution.
Joshua J. Reicks and Steven J. Kahler of Schoenthaler, Bartelt, Kahler & Reicks, Maquoketa, for appellant.
Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, Christopher M. Raker, County Attorney, and Sara D. Davenport, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.
In this case, we consider whether amounts paid by an offender pursuant to settlement agreements in civil wrongful-death actions prior to the offender's criminal conviction and sentencing should be set off against restitution orders entered as a result of the criminal convictions. The district court held that the amounts paid by the tortfeasor should not be set off against the subsequent restitution order. We conclude the criminal defendant is entitled to set off the amounts paid to settle the civil claims. We therefore reverse and remand the case to the district court with instructions.
I. Factual and Procedural Background.
On August 14, 1999, Corey Driscoll was the driver in a single-vehicle accident that resulted in the deaths of Mark Empen and Lindsay Gibbs. On September 24, the State charged Driscoll with two counts of homicide by vehicle as a result of the accident.
On April 26, 2000, prior to the resolution of his criminal proceeding, Driscoll entered into a civil-settlement agreement with the Estate of Mark Empen pursuant to which Driscoll agreed to pay $130, 000 in exchange for a release of claims resulting from the accident. The release stated Empen's estate
do[es] hereby release, acquit and forever discharge Corey Driscoll of and from any and all actions, causes of action, claims, demands, costs, loss of services, loss of consortium, expenses and compensation, on account of, or in any way growing out of, any and all known and unknown personal injuries and property damage resulting or to result from an accident that occurred on or about the 14th day of August, 1999, at or near Bellevue, Iowa.
The beneficiaries of Empen's estate consented to the settlement. The district court approved the settlement and authorized the execution of the release.
On May 8, Driscoll entered into a somewhat different settlement with the Estate of Lindsay Anne Gibbs. This release provided that in exchange for Driscoll's payment of $165, 000, Gibbs's estate and her heirs
do hereby forever release, acquit, and discharge, Corey Driscoll, his heirs, successors, and assigns, and Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, and its agents and representatives, from all claims of every type and description which in any way arise out of or are ...