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State v. Dempster

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 20, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEAN WILLIAM DEMPSTER, III, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Delaware County, Monica Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.

         Dean William Dempster III appeals the district court's modification of his victim restitution order.

          James G. Thomas and Jeffrey L. Clark of Thomas & Clark, LLC, Anamosa, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, JUDGE.

         We are asked to determine the effect of a prior court of appeals opinion on a criminal restitution order.

         I. Background Proceedings

         Dean William Dempster III pled guilty to vehicular homicide by reckless driving. See Iowa Code § 707.6A(2)(a) (2013). As required by law, the district court ordered victim restitution of $150, 000. See id. § 910.3B(1). The court approved a restitution plan of payment.

         Shortly thereafter, Dempster notified the district court of two $100, 000 insurance payments to the parents of the victim-one by his insurance company and the other by the company that insured the owner of the vehicle. In exchange for the payments, the parents released Dempster from all liability. Dempster requested "that his probation agreement/payment plan be amended to reflect that victim restitution has been satisfied." On July 12, 2016, following a hearing, the court concluded:

Iowa Code Section 910.8 provides in relevant part "that any restitution payment by the offender to a victim shall be set off against any judgment in favor of the victim in a civil action arising out of the same facts or event." See also State vs. Driscoll, 839 N.W.2d 188, 191 (Iowa 2013). Based thereon, in the Court's reading of the Driscoll case, the Court hereby finds that offset is proper. As Driscoll indicates, the purpose of the statute is to coordinate civil recoveries with criminal restitution to avoid double recovery. Id. (citing State v. Klawonn, 688 N.W.2d 271 (Iowa 2004)).

         The court ordered an offset of "the civil payment made to the victim's family" and application of "any payments made directly by the Defendant to any further court costs or obligations he owes." The court further stated, "If the payment made by the civil settlement satisfies the $150, 000.00 criminal restitution payment in its entirety, the Court deems that aspect of the Defendant's disposition order to be satisfied in full." The State did not appeal the July 12, 2016 order.

         More than a month after the order was filed, the parents of the victim wrote a letter to the district court requesting reconsideration of the order. They asserted the court should not have offset the $100, 000 payment they received from the vehicle owner's insurer against Dempster's $150, 000 restitution obligation. In response to the letter, the court "clarifie[d]" that its prior order "relate[d] solely to any insurance proceeds paid on behalf of . . . Dempster from his personal liability coverage."

         Dempster moved to set aside the clarifying order. The district court ...


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