Heard: June 1, 2016.
received and sworn to in the Pittsfield Division of the
District Court Department on July 15, 2014.
proceeding to determine restitution was had before William A.
Matthew J. Koes for the defendant.
L. Rose, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.
Present: Katzmann, Meade, & Agnes, JJ.
of crime have the right to request that the sentence in a
criminal case include an order that the defendant pay
restitution to make up for the economic loss they suffered as
a result of the defendant's criminal
conduct."[T]he scope of restitution is limited
to 'loss or damage [that] is causally connected to the
offense and bears a significant relationship to the
offense.'" Commonwealth v. Mclntyre, 436
Mass. 829, 835 (2002), quoting from Glaubius
v. State, 688 So.2d 913, 915 (Fla. 1997) .
present case, the defendant, Thomas E. Buckley, III, pleaded
guilty to one count of larceny of a motor vehicle in
violation of G. L. c. 266, § 28 (a.) . After a hearing,
the judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the
amount of $3, 000 for the loss of the victim's vehicle.
On appeal, the defendant raises two issues relating to the
restitution order: (1) whether intervening acts of negligence
by third parties following the commission of the crime broke
the causal chain and should relieve the defendant of the
obligation to pay restitution; and (2) whether an agreement
between the parties as to the approximate amount of economic
loss is a sufficient basis upon which the judge may make an
order of restitution. We answer the first question "no,
" and the second question "yes." Accordingly,
essential facts are not in dispute. On July 14, 2014, the
defendant was in the parking lot of a grocery store when he
took possession of the victim's vehicle. The defendant
claimed that someone had paid him to move a vehicle to an
automobile wrecker, and he had mistakenly taken the
defendant's vehicle. The defendant drove the vehicle
first to an automobile wrecker and then to a liquor store
parking lot, where it was eventually recovered. After he was
seen on a surveillance video, the defendant was arrested. He
immediately told the police where to find the vehicle.
the vehicle was located within one or two days of its theft,
due to some misinformation or a misunderstanding regarding
the victim's contact information, the victim was not
immediately notified that his vehicle had been
recovered.Because of the miscommunication, it was
several months later, when the victim appeared for trial,
that he discovered that the police had recovered his vehicle.
In the interim, the victim had purchased a replacement
the several months prior to trial, the victim's vehicle
had been stored at an auto-body shop and had accumulated
roughly $3, 036 in storage, mileage, and towing fees. Because
the victim was unable to pay the fees, he ultimately
transferred ownership of the vehicle to the shop.
the defendant pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to six
months' probation and was ordered to pay various fines
and restitution. At the restitution hearing, the judge
inquired as to the "book value" of the stolen
vehicle, a 1993 Honda Accord. The Commonwealth responded,
"Your Honor, I believe we made an approximation last
time that it was ... a little under . . . what the storage
fees were, but we don't have a full book
value." Defense counsel stated, "there's
no dispute as to that" and the issue was simply a
"question of what [the defendant] would be capable of
paying." The Commonwealth requested $3, 036 in
restitution, the amount of the fees incurred.
defendant argued principally that the Commonwealth had not
met its burden to prove that the defendant's conduct was
causally related to the victim's economic loss. In
particular, he argued that the intervening negligence on the
part of the police department, not the defendant's crime,
was the proximate cause of the victim's loss because the