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State v. Quijas

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 1, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
ABEL QUIJAS, JR., Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, David P. Odekirk (restitution) and Richard D. Stochl (modification), Judges.

         An inmate appeals the dismissal of his petition to modify restitution.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Martha J. Lucey, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Martha E. Trout, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

          MCDONALD, JUDGE.

         This case presents questions related to whether and when an offender is entitled to the assistance of counsel and a hearing to challenge a restitution order for the reimbursement of room and board expenses related to the pretrial detention of the offender.

         Abel Quijas, Jr., was convicted of attempted murder, in violation of Iowa Code section 707.11 (2013). On July 11, 2016, the district court sentenced Quijas to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed twenty-five years and ordered Quijas to pay court costs. The district court found Quijas did not have the reasonable ability to pay court-appointed attorney fees.

         On July 26, 2016, the Fayette County Sheriff's office filed a room and board reimbursement claim pursuant to Iowa Code sections 356.7 and 910.1(4). The district court granted the request and entered judgment on the same day. On September 20, 2016, the Department of Corrections filed a restitution plan of payment, which stated, "Pursuant to Chapter 910 of the Code of Iowa, the above listed inmate has been ordered to pay the county Clerk of Court 20 percent of all credits to this inmate's institutional account." The restitution plan of payment noted Quijas was ordered to pay $34, 384.40, which represented room and board plus additional costs.

         On May 17, 2017, roughly ten months later, Quijas filed a pro se petition to modify restitution pursuant to Iowa Code section 910.7. In his petition, Quijas argued he was entitled to a hearing on restitution. He also argued requiring him to pay pre-trial detention costs was "tantamount to debtors prison" and violated his right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. On May 25, 2017, the district court entered an order taking no action because Quijas's direct appeal was still pending. Subsequently, Quijas filed a motion to enlarge and amend the district court's order. In response, the district court entered the following order:

Defendant filed a motion to modify restitution. He complains about being assessed Sheriff fees for incarceration. The court did not require him to reimburse the state for attorney's fees but the order did not excuse his payment of the sheriff's fees.

         No hearing is necessary on this issue. The motion is Denied. Quijas timely filed this appeal.

         "We review restitution orders for correction of errors at law." State v. Jenkins, 788 N.W.2d 640, 642 (Iowa 2010). "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." Id. We review the district court's denial of a restitution hearing pursuant to Iowa Code section 910.7 for an abuse of discretion. See State v. Blank, 570 N.W.2d 924, 927 (Iowa 1997); State v. Long, No. 17-0234, 2018 WL 2230229, at *2 (Iowa Ct. App. May 16, 2018). To the extent any constitutional issues are raised, our review is de novo. See State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 201 (Iowa 2004).

         Before directly addressing Quijas's claims, we set forth necessary ...


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