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State v. Durham

December 14, 2007

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLEE,
v.
SPENCER B. DURHAM, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Lyon District Court; W. LEE FOWLER, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. In construing statutes, qualifying words, phrases, and clauses are ordinarily confined to the last antecedent, or to the words and phrases immediately preceding. The last antecedent, within the meaning of this rule, has been regarded as the last word which can be made an antecedent without impairing the meaning of the sentence.

2. K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 21-4603d(a)(8), which authorizes the district court to order a defendant to repay the amount of any "medical costs and expenses" incurred by any law enforcement agency or county, is examined and it is held: The term "costs" and the term "expenses" as utilized in the statute are redundant, and the term "medical" modifies both terms.

3. Because hotel lodging expenses and overtime charges incurred by officers in guarding a hospitalized defendant are not "medical costs and expenses" under K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 21-4603d(a)(8), such expenses may not be included in a restitution order.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Caplinger, J

Affirmed in part and vacated in part.

Before CAPLINGER, P.J., ELLIOTT and LEBEN, JJ.

Spencer B. Durham appeals the district court's restitution order, arguing the court lacked authority to order restitution for medical expenses incurred on Durham's behalf following his arrest, as well as overtime salary and lodging expenses incurred by the sheriff's department while guarding Durham during his medical treatment.

We conclude the district court properly ordered Durham to reimburse the county for medical expenses incurred pursuant to K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 21-4603d(b)(8), which authorizes the district court to order the defendant to "repay the amount of any medical costs and expenses incurred by any law enforcement agency or county." However, because we find the term "medical" modifies both the term "costs" and the term "expenses," we vacate that portion of the district court's order requiring Durham to pay overtime and lodging, which are non-medical expenses.

Factual and procedural background

Durham pled no contest to and was convicted of one count of forgery. While in custody but before entering his plea, Durham swallowed one or two razor blades and was transported from Lyon County to the Kansas University Medical Center for treatment. Lyon County Sheriff's Department officers accompanied Durham during transport to the Medical Center and guarded him during his treatment, incurring overtime salary and lodging expenses.

Following a hearing to determine the amount of restitution, the district court ordered Durham to pay total restitution of $22,952.43, which included a $20 bank fee to the victim of the forgery, $21,319.69 for medical expenses, $1,336.37 for the officers' overtime expenses, and $296.37 for the officers' lodging expenses. Durham appeals the district court's restitution order.

Discussion

On appeal, Durham concedes restitution in the amount of the $20 bank fee was appropriate. However, Durham argues the district court lacked authority to order the payment of medical costs, overtime charges, and lodging expenses as restitution. Durham argues K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 21-4603d(b)(1) requires a causal link between a defendant's unlawful conduct and the restitution ordered, and no such causal link exists here. Further, Durham suggests that even though the county may seek reimbursement for medical costs when an inmate requires ...


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