A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

By Burt Rose

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has decided the case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Fred A. STRADLEY, Appellant, 1197 MDA 2011, 2012 WL 3265097, 2012 PA Super 162 (Aug. 13, 2012). This was an appeal from a Judgment of Sentence of PJ Smith of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, Criminal Division, CP–08–CR–0000575–2009. The case was before Judges STEVENS, BOWES and STRASSBURGER, who wrote the Opinion.

The Appellant challenged the propriety of the DUI sentencing court’s decision to award restitution without deducting the amount paid to his accident victim by his own insurer. Appellant maintained that he should not be required to pay restitution for amounts already paid on his behalf, and that, as such, the amount of the restitution award should be vacated due to full payment of the actual loss already having been made by his insurer to the victim. Appellant argued that the restitution order should be vacated because the victim has been made whole, that payments emanating from his insurer are equivalent to payments made directly by him, and that his insurer is not a victim under 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106.

The Court ruled that the statutory language requires the sentencing court to order restitution so as to provide the victim with full compensation for his or her actual loss and that such an award is not to be reduced by any amount the victim received from an insurer. Rather, restitution for amounts paid by an insurer must be awarded to that insurer. Section 1106 of the Crimes Code requires that the court order the defendant to pay restitution for any amount that the victim received from an insurance company to the insurer that made the payment to the victim. Here, the parties agreed at sentencing that there was a claim of restitution from the victim in the amount of $7,900.00 and that Allstate had paid the victim that amount to cover the property damage loss. Thus, restitution is to be paid to Allstate as reimbursement for payment made to the victim.

Attorney Arthur David Agnellino of Sayre represented Stradley.

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