The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday, remanded the case of State v. Carlton Horton, back to the trial court to determine if restitution was appropriate for Horton’s crime. Carlton Horton was convicted of domestic aggravated assault as a standard offender for stabbing the victim numerous times during the course of an argument. He was sentenced to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days in prison, eight years of probation, and to pay restitution of $4,048.10 for the victim’s unpaid hospital bills.
The question on appeal was whether the trial court adequately considered Horton’s ability to pay restitution pursuant to The Tennessee Code § 40-35-304(d). The pertinent part states:
“In determining the amount and method of payment or other restitution, the court shall consider the financial resources and future ability of the defendant to pay or perform.”
Horton argued, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that the trial court did not adequately consider his financial resources or ability to pay. At trial Horton reported no assets, and testified that he received $200.00 a month in food stamps, that he was unable to work because of illness, and that he owed a debt of $1,100.00 to a loan company. Horton also testified, interestingly, that he was able to maintain a $100-a-day cocaine habit. Horton’s testimony is obviously conflicting because while he states he has no income or assets, he manages to support an expensive cocaine addiction. The Court of Criminal Appeals decided that not enough attention was paid to the evidence of Horton’s financial abilities, and remanded the issue back to the trial court for further consideration. Mitch Carter was the Chattanooga attorney who successfully argued this case at the CCA.