United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.
Ralph Neal appeals a magistrate judge's order to pay
restitution in the amount of $1, 543.86. [DE 15]. Neal was
convicted on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and
ordered to pay the restitution after a trial to the
magistrate judge. [DE 7]. This Court AFFIRMS
the magistrate judge's ruling.
looking for a parking spot in the Lexington VA Medical Center
parking garage, Neal encountered Allen Reams. Reams was
driving a truck in the wrong direction in the parking garage
as he tried to exit. Neal attempted to alert Reams, but the
two came to a standstill. [DE 13, p. 23].
testified at trial that Neal then exited his car and walked
toward Reams's truck. [Id.]. At that point,
Reams testified, Neal hit Reams twice in the face, kicked the
side and front of the truck, and hit the side and front
fender on the truck with his hand. [Id.]. Reams also
claimed that Neal dislodged a fog light on the vehicle.
[Id.]. Neal disputed this account. He testified that
he approached Reams's vehicle and put his hands on the
window when Reams grabbed Neal's fingers. [Id.
at 63-66]. Neal claimed he swung at Reams, but never made
contact. [Id.]. Neal said he pushed on Reams's
vehicle when Reams began to drive forward again and Neal was
in danger of being hit. [Id.].
event, Reams eventually left the VA parking garage and
contacted VA Security. [Id. at 25-26]. He returned
to the facility at the request of law enforcement.
[Id.]. VA Police Officer Joshua Holland wrote Neal a
citation for disorderly conduct. [Id. at 5-6].
Holland also testified that Reams did not report damage when
he came back to the VA; Holland discovered the damage when he
looked at Reams's truck. [Id. at 21, 30].
later took his vehicle to a body shop when he learned his
vehicle needed significant repairs. [Id. at 23-24].
Reams testified that his vehicle had been hit about six
months prior in the same parking garage, but he had the
damage repaired. [Id. at 31]. Before the incident
with Neal, the vehicle had only some damage to the right and
left rear fender after being hit twice in the parking lot,
according to Reams's testimony. [Id.].
couple also reported observing the disturbance. Pamela and
Michael Kinney spoke with Officer Holland and also testified
at trial. [Id. p. 7]. The Kinneys were two cars
behind Neal when the commotion occurred. [Id. at p.
Kinney testified that she witnessed someone “bang on
[Reams's truck] with his hands a couple times.”
[Id. at 41]. She did not see the suspect kick the
vehicle, hit a rearview mirror, or physically attack Reams.
[Id. at 44]. She also did not see anyone hit the
truck toward the front hood or fender-she saw a person hit
only the door. [Id. at 45]. Mrs. Kinney testified
that she could not identify Neal as the person who hit the
truck. [Id. at 45-46, 47].
Kinney testified he saw an individual slam the hood of the
truck. [Id. at 49]. He also stated that he saw the
individual hit the car near“[w]here the engine
is.” [Id. at 53].
trial, the government attempted to admit, through Reams,
invoices from ARMS, a rental car company, and from Hadawreck
Body Shop. [Id. at 26-27; Gov. Exh. 3]. Reams
testified that the companies sent the documents to him to get
services rendered to his car. [DE 13, pp. 26-27]. The
prosecution asked Reams if the totals listed in the documents
were accurate, to which Reams responded they were.
[Id. at 27]. Reams then testified that he had an
insurance policy and had to pay a $500 deductible to the body
shop and “the insurance company took care of the
government then attempted to admit the exhibit, and defense
counsel objected. [Id.]. The defense did not object
“to the extent that they proved what is paid out of
pocket.” [Id.]. The objection did cover the
extent to which the invoices showed the work done and cost
because “it's difficult for [Reams] to authenticate
the contents” of the invoice. [Id.]. The
magistrate judge asked Reams if those were the receipts and
bills he had received. [Id.]. Reams said yes, and
the exhibit was admitted. [Id. at 27-28].
the close of evidence, the magistrate judge found Neal guilty
and imposed a sentence of eighteen months of probation and
$1, 543.86 in restitution. [Id. 79-91]. The
magistrate judge based restitution on amounts
“reflected in the exhibits.” [Id. at
89]. The judgment also reflected restitution in the amount in
the exhibits. [DE 7, p. 3].
timely filed a Notice of Appeal to the District Court under
Federal Rule of Criminal procedure 58(g). [DE 9, 10]. Neal
argues that the invoices were hearsay and improperly admitted
and thus the restitution amount imposed by the magistrate
judge was in error. [DE 15]. The government ...