MN Criminal Restitution Order Can't Consider Victim's Fault, Appeals Court Holds

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: criminal restitution, Minn Stat 611A.045.

State of Minnesota v. Brandon Wayne Riggs. Criminal restitution, Minn Stat 611A.045

The State of Minnesota appealed the restitution order in this Winona County criminal case. The trial court had apportioned some of the fault for the assault victim’s injuries to the victim. It had therefore reduced the amount of restitution because the victim was the aggressor in the fight.

The Court of Appeals, in a published decision released on April 7, 2014, held that this was improper, and remanded the case. The court held that the restitution statute, Minnesota Statute 611A.045, did not permit this reduction. The only allowable considerations are the amount of economic loss sustained by the victim as a result of the offense, and the defendant’s income, resources, and obligations. The Court's opinion was authored by Judge Peterson, with Judges Hudson and Stauber concurring.

No. A13-1189 (Minn. Ct. App. April 7, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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