February 2024

RESTITUTION: “RESOURCES” MEANS USEFUL AND VALUABLE POSSESSIONS

Appellant was convicted of theft by false representation and ordered to pay over $14,000 in restitution after the district court considered equity in the home Appellant co-owned with his wife one of his “resources.” The Court of Appeals affirmed, as does the Supreme Court. When determining whether to order restitution and the amount of restitution, Minn. Stat. § 611A.045, subd. 1(a)(2), requires the district court to consider, among other things, the defendant’s “resources.” “Resources” is not defined by statute, so the court looks to dictionary definitions toconclude that the term means “useful and valuable possessions.” The court notes that this definition is broad but not limitless when examined in the context of the restitution statute. In this context, a “useful and valuable possession” must be able to be monetized and must be in the defendant’s possession. This includes home equity, even if the defendant does not have exclusive ownership of the home, as “ownership shares may be distinctly valuable and useful to each individual owner” and the restitution statute does not restrict the district court to considering only resources a defendant may access unilaterally. Affirmed. State v. Cummings, A22-0630, 2 N.W.3d 528 (Minn. Sup. Ct. Feb. 14, 2024).

Contact