SW Legal studies in Business

Cost of Damage to Property May Depend on Location
Description

Nevada high court affirmed conviction for gross misdemeanor injury to property, a level achieved because the cost of repairing the property was higher than usual due to its location. The court held that the fact of where damage occurs, and therefore the cost of the damage, is relevant and a lower cost that would occur in another location need not be assigned by the court.

Topic Criminal Law
Key Words

Misdemeanor Assault; Gross Misdemeanor Injury to Property; Equal Protection

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Carolyn Garrett broke the glass out of a neighbor’s front door and later threatened the owner of the property with a pitchfork. A jury convicted her for misdemeanor assault and for injury to property, a gross misdemeanor. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the assault on her neighbor and received a suspended sentence of nine months in jail and three years’ probation and 80 hours community service. Garrett was ordered to pay restitution of $302.14. She appealed, contending that her equal protection rights were violated. She contended it was improper for the judge to include the costs of having a repairman travel to replace the glass door, as that pushed the cost over $250, which raised the incident to the level of a gross misdemeanor. If the travel cost was not included, the damage to property would have been less than $250 and it would have been a lesser offense.

Decision

Affirmed. The conviction for gross misdemeanor injury to property, which requires that the value of the loss be more than $250 but less than $5,000, did not violate Garrett’s equal protection rights. The fact that travel costs of a repairman had to be included, since the work was in the country (rural Nevada) and required long travel, was related to the site of the crime. The cost of the damage happened to be higher because of the location of the crime than had it occurred in some other location. Costs are different in different situations.

Citation

Garrett v. State, 2009 WL 1456422 (Sup. Ct., Nevada, 2009)

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