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Restitution Discretion

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Hienok Demessie

Case No.: 2021AP002114-CR

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Gill, JJ.

Focus: Restitution Discretion

Hienok Demessie appeals from a judgment convicting him of three felonies. The sole issue on appeal is whether the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion when it imposed a substantial restitution award to be paid to an insurer, notwithstanding Demessie’s claimed indigency and the outright dismissal of a charge related to the restitution award. The appeals court concludes the court did not erroneously exercise its discretion when ordering restitution, and affirms the judgment of conviction.

The court rationally concluded that justice required restitution to Encova Insurance because the losses were so substantial and giving back lost sums would give Demessie “a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment,” contributing to his rehabilitation.


Decided 02/14/23

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