Williams v. State

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John Louise Williams v. State of Maryland, No. 73, September Term, 2004 CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE. RESTITUTION - DIRECT RESULT OF CRIME. Three motorcycles were stolen from the victim s ga rage in Baltim ore C ounty. Tw o days later, the motorcycles were recovered undama ged in the yard of the def endant/ap pellant, Williams, in B altimore C ity. When the v ictim appea red at the B altimore C ity impound lot to reclaim the vehicles, he was denied recovery by the C ity because he was una ble to produce title to the motorcycles. Williams pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $500. In the adopted factual statement in support of the gu ilty plea, the value of the motorcycles was placed at $1500. Williams argued against an order of restitution merely because the victim was unable to reclaim the motorcyc les due to his apparent failure to title the motorcycles. The State argued for restitution arguing the victim s motorcycles wou ld not be in th e impoun d lot but for th eir theft by Williams. The trial judge ordered restitution. The relevan t part of the statu te gove rning re stitution, § 11-603 (a) of the Md. Code, Criminal Procedure Article, allows restitution to be ordered for losses if they occurred as a direct result of the crime. A mere nexus causal relationship, or even tort-like proximate cause, between the crime and an alleged loss is insufficient. There was no evidence in the statement of facts that the motorcycles were damaged or their value depreciated by the theft. The victim s inability to demonstrate title to the motorcycles, or other evidence of ownership, was the sole reason he could not recover them. Thus, on the factual record of this case, any loss (if there was one within the mean ing of the sta tute) was n ot the direct res ult of the theft of the mo torcycles. See also P ete v. State, 384 Md. 47, 86 2 A.2d 419 (2 004). IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 73 September Term, 2004 JOHN LOUISE WILLIAMS v. STATE OF MARYLAND Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. Opinion by Harrell, J. Filed: February 4, 2005 I. In the Circuit Court for Baltim ore Cou nty on 9 Oc tober 200 3, Appe llant, John Louise Williams, pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $500. At the plea proceeding, the Assistant State s Attorney recited the following supporting statement of facts, which were agreed to by Appellan t s trial counsel, a lthough sh e reserved the right to arg ue as to restitution: Your Honor, th e State in support of the defe ndant s guilty plea, on April 1 st, 2003 O fficer Gre lak, G-R-E -L-A-K , responde d to 7600 Goug h Stree t for a bu rglary. Upon arrival he spoke w ith the victim, Craig Jones. Mr. Jones advised that between March 31 st, 2003 at approximately 9 o clock p.m. and Ap ril 1 st, 2003 at 9:15 a.m., unknown subjects cut the padlock[1] on the far side door of his garage and removed the following items: A 1975 Yamaha GT80R motorcycle, a Suzuki DS-80 motorcycle, a 1994 Yamaha PW50 motorcycle, and finally a 2002 Yamaha TTR225R motorcycle. The total value of the property loss was $4,100. On April 3 rd , 2003, a teletype was received at Precinct 12 in reference to the recovery of the 2002 Yamaha TTR225R motorcycle. The motorcycle was recovered by Officer Saund ers of the Baltimo re City Police, Northeast District. She advised that she recovered the motorcycle along with three others on April 2 nd , 2003 in the rear yard of 3018 Clifton Park Terrace. The motorcycle was in possession of John Louise Williams and Alan Williams. Both w ere arrested and the motorcycles w ere towed for storage. 1 Although Williams was charged, among other things, with malicious destruction of property to wit, the padlock, and the Application For Statement of Charges claimed the padlock was valued at $5.00, neither figured in the State s rendition of the statem ent of fac ts offered in support of the guilty plea to the theft over $500 count. Thus, the asserted value of the padlock h ad no bea ring on w hether the re stitution ordere d in connection with the theft count was appropriate. On April 24th , 2003, Detective Claridge along with Sergeant Stelmack met with Craig Jones at the Baltimore City impound lot to identi fy the stole n moto rcycles. M r. Jones identified an additional motorcycle as belonging to him. He identified it by the white epoxy on the tail pipe. Specifica lly, Judge, what unfortunately happened, the motorcycle that was the most expensive was actually recovered and returned to the victim. There was a Mr. Jones was actually maintaining possession of that motorcycle for another individual who ha d properly titled it. T hat motorc ycle was subseque ntly returned to the victim, the owner of the motorcycle. The other three motorcycles, because Mr. Jones used them for off road p urposes an d rightly or wrongly did not title them , [the ] Baltimo re City impound lot would not return them to him de spite the f act th at the y were recovered and M r. Jones identifie d them as belo nging t o him. So he of course is still out the $15 00, and tha t, I think, is the sub ject of the restitution issue that we re g oing to argu e about. This case did occ ur in Ba ltimore C ounty. Of course Mr. Jones did not give anyone permission to remove any cycles or have them without his permission. The trial judge found the facts sufficient to support the guilty plea and, acco rdingly, found Appellant guilty. As to sentence, defense counsel argued: [DEFEN SE CO UNS EL]: Re garding the issue for restitu tion, Your Honor, a ll the property w as recover ed. The fa ct that it wasn t returned by the Prope rty Division b y the impoun d lot is not within Mr. Williams control. The fact that the victim didn t have it properly titled to him self is not Mr. W illiams fault. That is an issu e for the victim. The restitutio n would not be ow able by Mr. W illiams f or prop erty that is re covere d. That s an entirely separate issue as to whether or not the impound lot released it to the victim or to whoever it s titled to. It s the same as if the victim has it and it s titled to a third person, he can simply ask the third pe rson to g et it releas ed. It s not restitution that Mr. Williams owes. 2 THE COURT: Well, he wouldn t have had to worry about the recovery if Mr. Williams didn t steal it, would he? [DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Certainly not. It wouldn t be in the impound lot but for M r. Williams ac tions. But if he didn t have it insured or licensed for some reason, that has nothing to do with Mr. W illiams. That s an issue the victim has with the MVA regarding th e motorcycle, n ot with Mr. Williams. And I would ask You r Honor n ot to impose restitution since the property has been recovered. It seems to me there are other avenues that the victim can pursue with the person who indeed does have the title. In arguing for restitution, the prosecutor explained: I was up front with [Defense Counsel]. I told her that the bikes were actually recove red and tha t in speaking with the victim, the victim explained to me and he s not here today because he actually has testicular cancer and was just coming off his chemotherapy was that he just didn t title them because he used them for off road. And again, whether rightly or wro ngly, that s what he indicated and the impound lot w ould not return them to him. I sort of take the same view as the Cou rt, I d otherw ise defer to the Court, t hat but for Mr. Williams, he would still have these bikes. That s the reason I m asking for the restitutio n, but I ll defer to the Court on that as well. The trial judge, in addition to imposing a sentence of five years incarceration (all but 30 months suspende d and five years probation ), ordered W illiams to pay restitutio n to Jones in the amount of $1,500. Williams appea led to the Court o f Spec ial App eals, challenging the legality of the order of restitution component of his sentence. Before the intermed iate appellate court 3 decided the appeal, we, on our initiative, issued a writ of certio rari to conside r the sole question of whether the order of restitution was leg al. Williams v . State, 383 Md. 211, 857 A.2d 1129 (20 04). Oral arg ument w as held in this case on 7 December 2004, the day after the Court s opinion in Pete v. State , 384 Md. 47, 862 A.2d 419 (2004) was filed. Pete, as we make clear later, has a marked effect on the outcome of the present case.2 II. Md. Code (2001, 2004 Supp.), Criminal Procedure Article, § 11-603, the relevan t part of the statutory scheme governing restitution in criminal cases,3 provides in pertinent part as follows: (a) Conditions for judgment of restitution. A court may enter a judgment of restitution that orders a defendant or child respondent to make restitution in addition to any other penalty for the commission of a crime or delinquent act, if: (1) as a direct result of the crime or delinquent act, property of the victim was stolen, damaged, destroyed, converted, or unlawfully obtained, or its value substantially decreased; (2) as a direct result of the crim e or delinqu ent act, the victim suffered : * * * * * (ii) any other direct out-of-pocket loss 2 To their credit, counsel for both parties at oral argument expressed awareness of Pete and engaged in offering their views as to its effect here. 3 Restitution as it relates to criminal cases currently is regulated in §§ 11-601 - 11-618 of the Criminal Procedure Article. For a thorough review of the history of restitution, see Judge Wilner s d iscussion in Grey v. Allstate Ins. Co., 363 Md. 445, 450-62, 769 A.2d 891, 894-900 (2001). The current relevant version of § 11-603 remains unchanged from the 2001 version, enacted by Chp. 10, Acts 2001, in effect at the time of Williams s sentencing. 4 * * * * * (c) Effect of judgment of restitution. (1) A judgment of restitution does not preclude the property owner or the victim who suffered personal physical or mental injury, out-of-pocket loss of earning s, or suppo rt from brin ging a civil ac tion to recover damag es from the restitution obligor. * * * * * Because the record does not reveal that the three motorcycles at issue were damaged when recovered by police with in a day or two of their thef t, presumab ly, had Jones b een able to reclaim the v ehicles from the Baltimo re City impoun d lot, his situation would not have f it within the relevant statutory justifications supporting an order of restitution in this case.4 The key factual predicate for whether the order ente red in this case was proper was that the Baltimore City authorities rebuffed Jones s attempt to repossess the motorcycles because he not offer s ufficient e vidence of his ownership of the vehicles.5 Had could 4 In addition to the record lacking evidence of damage to the motorcycles arising from their theft, there was no evidence the vehicles suffered depreciation in value or that Jones incurred an y particular amo unt of ou t-of-pock et loss related to the theft. 5 The agreed statement of facts supporting the plea in this case offers as the only reason the motorcycles were not returned to Jones that he did not offer proof of title to them in h is name. The further suggestion in the agreed statement is that Jones had not titled the vehicles in his nam e beca use of his belie f that titlin g was not req uired if they wer e only u sed . . . for off road purposes. The parties to this case have not concerned themselves much w ith analyzing the legitim acy of the reason offere d for th e refus al to retu rn the v ehicles. There is a meaningful difference between titling and registration under the relevant State statutes. S ection 1 3-101 .1 of the Tra nsportation Article of the Md. Code (1977, 2002 Repl. Vol.), require s that, unless cov ered by an ex ception en umerated in § 13-102 (none of which appear relevant here), the owner of each vehicle that is in this State and for which (contin ued...) 5 5 (...continued) the [Motor V ehicle] Administration has not issued a certificate of title shall apply to the Administration for a certificate of title of the vehicle. A vehicle, within the meaning of the Maryland V ehicle Law generally, is any de vice in, on, or b y which an y individual or property is or might be transported or towed on a highw ay. § 11- 176 (a) , Transp . Art. A certificate of title to a vehicle is prima fac ie evidence of who owns it. § 13-107 (a)(2) and (c), Transp. Art. The Administration is precluded from issuing registration of a vehicle unless it also h as issue d to the o wner [ of a ve hicle] a c ertificate of title of the veh icle . . . . §13402 (b), Tr ansp. Art. Vehicle registration, as a separate documentary process, requires that each motor vehicle . . . driven on a highway shall be registered with the Admin istration, unless otherwise provided in . . . the Maryland Vehicle Law. The definition of motor vehicle , as opposed to merely a vehicle, is generally a vehicle that is self-propelled . . . . § 11135, Transp. Art. A motor cycle, as a sub-sp ecies of both v ehicle and m otor ve hicle, is generally a motor vehicle that: (1) has one front wheel and one or two rear wheels on a single axle; (2) is self-propelled by a motor with a rating of more than 1.5 brake horsepower and a capacity of at least 49 cubic centimeters piston displacement; (3) has a singular front steering road wheel mounted in a fork assembly that passes through a frame steering bearing and to which is attached a handlebar or other directly operated steering device; (4) has a seat that is straddled by the driver; and (5) except for a windshield or windscreen, does not have any enclosure or provision for an enclosure for the driver or any passenger. § 11-136, Transp. Art. We shall assume for purposes of this opin ion that the p ertinent three m otorcycles held in the Baltimore City impound lot met this definition. If required to be registered, a motor vehicle may be registered without a certificate of title (§ 13-402 (b ) notwithstanding), but only under v ery limited cond itions. § 13-1 09, Transp . Art. Of greater relevance to the facts of the present case, however, is the provision of § 25-102.1 of the Transportation Article: § 25-102.1. Off-the-road motorcycles. (a) Definiti on. (1) In this section, off-the-road motorcycle means a motorcycle not otherwise registered under this article. (2) Off-the-road motorcycle includes motorcycles designed for off-the-road operation, motorcycles not otherwise eligible for registration under this article, and motorcycles commonly referred to as dirt bikes . (b) Regulation. Each county and Baltimore City may regulate (contin ued...) 6 Jones been able to do so, Williams argument, at least in its present posture, could not be 5 (...continued) the operation of off-the-road motorcycles, require them to be registered, and impose a registration fee for them. From the fore going r egulato ry schem e, we glean that, assuming the motorcycles were offthe-road motorcycles and used only for that purpose (within the meaning of § 25-102.1), Jones (if he was the owner) was not required to register them with the S tate Moto r Vehicle Administration, but was re quired to apply to the Administration for a certificate of title as to each. Of tangential interest and adding to the complexity of whether Jones could have produced evidence of ownership of the motorcycles, Jones s home county, Bal timo re Coun ty, where the motorcycles were stored at the time of their theft by Williams, required registration of off-the-road motorcycles. See generally §§ 21-12-101 th rough 21-12-30 8, Baltimore County Code (2004). Submission of an application for such registration must include (1) the identity of the owner and (2) the curren t certificate of title iss ued by the Sta te Motor V ehicle Administration, a certificate of origin, or a genuine bill of sale. § 21-12 -201 (b) and (c), County Code. When the County issues such a registration, the owner receives a registration card bearing, among other things, his or her name as owner, a registration number assigned by the County for each motorcycle, the man ufacturer s serial number o n the motorcycle s engine and frame, and a description of the motorcycle. § 21-12-205, County Code. The registration card is to be carri ed by the owne r at all tim es. § 21 -12-21 1, Cou nty Cod e. If a registered motorcycle is sold, the seller is required to inform the buyer that registration may be required before the m otorcycle may b e driven in the Co unty. § 21-12-210, County Code. By the same to ken, Baltim ore City (wh ere Jones so ught to recla im the property) appears to have exercised a bit differently its authority granted by § 25-102.1 (b) of the Transp. Art. of the Md. Code . Section 40-6 of the Baltimore City Code prohibits outright the driving or riding of any dirt bike or u nregistered m otorcycle on a ny public or pr ivate prope rty in the City. App arently, under this prohibition, re gistration w ith the City is not an option to legitimate such vehicles. On this record, we do not know whether Jones registered these off-road motorcycles with Baltimore County, or whether he possessed a certificate of title or other evidence of ownership as required by the State Vehicle Law. What we may observe, however, is that apparently there were alternate means by which Jones could have acquired and produced evidence of his owne rship of the three motorcycles, an apparent c ondition pre cedent to th eir release by the impound lot personnel. Such a condition seems both reasonable and foreseeable under the circumstances. 7 maintained. Because Jones s inability to recover the undamaged vehicles was arguably due solely to his sin of omission in not titling the vehicles in his name and producing proof of those titles (or alternative documentation of ownership), Williams maintains Jones suffered no loss or injury for w hich restitution could be o rdered (w ithin the meaning of the statute), and, in any event, if h is inability to reclaim the motorcycles was deemed a loss or injury, the loss or injury did n ot occur as th e direct resu lt of the thef t. Once again, we are called upon to construe and apply a statute. The overarching standard in any such an alysis may b e stated succi nctly. Our preemin ent goal is to discern and implement legislative intent, and, to do that, we begin with the plain meaning of the statutory language. If the intent is clear from that language, there is no need to search further . Walker v. Dept. of Human Res., 379 Md. 407, 420, 842 A.2d 53, 61 (2004), quoting Allstate v. Kim, 376 M d. 276, 290 , 829 A.2d 611, 619 (2003); see also Podgurski v. OneBeacon Ins. Co., 374 Md. 133, 142, 821 A.2d 400, 405-06 (2003); Maryland Div. of Labor & Industry v. Triangle Gen. Contractors, Inc., 366 Md. 407, 420-21, 784 A.2d 534, 541-42 (2001); Anne A rundel C ounty, M d. v. City of A nnapolis, 352 Md. 117, 123, 721 A.2d 217, 220 (1998). We find that is the case here. As we recently reiterated in State v. Ga rnett, Term, 2004) (filed 2 2 Decemb er 2004): 8 Md. (2004) (No. 47, September Restitution imposed under Article 27, Section 807[6] is a criminal sanction, not a civil remedy. Grey v. Allstate Insurance Company, 363 M d. 445, 4 51, 769 A.2d 8 91, 895 (2001) (emphasis in original). Judge Wilner, writing for this Court in Grey, traced the history of restitution and explained that it serves retribu tive, deterrent, an d rehabilitative objectives, which are the p rincipal functio ns of c riminal p unishm ent. Id. at 459-60, 769 A.2d at 899-900. We explained that penal goals are accomplished through restitution to the extent that the defendant is forced to focus on the harm that was caused to the victim. Grey, 363 M d. at 459, 76 9 A.2d a t 899. Like wise, restitution is a monetary detriment to the defendant and satisf[ies] society s demand for meaningful justice, thus serving the punitive objective of the criminal system. (Slip op. at 9-10) (some interna l citations omitted). Instructive to the present case is our recent opinion in Pete v. State , 384 Md. 47, 862 A.2d 419 (2004). Pe te committed second degree assault on a woman in her apartment and fled the scen e in a pic kup tru ck. Id. at 51, 862 A.2d at 421. About two hours later, a police officer on patrol in his marked vehicle in another part of the city spotted Pete in his pickup. Id. The officer activated his vehicle s overhead lights and b egan to follow P ete in an effort to make a tra ffic stop. Pe te sped away, but then abruptly stopped, causing the police cruiser to collide w ith the re ar of the pickup truck. Id. at 51-52, 862 A.2d at 421. The police cruiser, it was determined later, suffered $6,490.53 in damages. Pete fled the accident scene, but was captured. 6 Article 27, Section 807 was recodified without substantive change as Md. Code (2001), § 11-603 of the Criminal Procedure Article. 9 In addition to the second degree assault on the woman, Pete was charged with, among other things , reckless drivin g in conne ction with th e collision w ith the police c ruiser. Pete was convic ted of b oth off enses. Id. at 49-50, 862 A.2d at 420. The trial court sente nced him on the assault conviction to eighteen months imprisonment, with all but two months suspended in favor of three years probation upon release. As one of the conditions of probation regarding the assault con viction and sentence, P ete was o rdered to make restitution in the sum of $6,490.53 to the Loc al Gover nment Ins urance T rust (LGIT ) for the repa irs to the police cruiser. On the non-incarcerable reckless driving conviction, the Court assessed a fine o f $250 .00. Id. at 52-53, 862 A.2d at 421-22. On certiorari review in this Cou rt, Pete argued, an alogous to Williams s a rgumen t in the present case, that the order of restitution as to LGIT, whether as a direct part of the sentence or as a condition of probation, was illegal because the damage to the police cruiser was not, within the meaning of § 11-603 (a)(1), the direct result of the conduct giving rise to the co nviction for sec ond de gree as sault. Id at 50, 862 A.2d at 420.7 In considering Pete s arguments in this regard, we observed that [t]he term direct result of the crime appeared first in the Restitution for Crimes Act of 1977. 1977 M d. Laws, 7 The charge of reckless driving, which arose directly from the collision of the police vehicle with Pete s pickup truck , was not a crime f or which restitution may be ord ered under the statu te. Pete, 384 Md. at 56-57, 862 A.2d at 424. Reckless driving is a nonincarcerab le misdemeanor. For purposes of restitution being authorized as a direct part of a sentence, th e related crim e, when it is a violation of the Transportation Article, must be punishab le by a term of con finem ent . Id. at 56, 862 A.2d at 424; Md. Code (2001), § 11601 (d)(2), of the Criminal Procedure Article. 10 Chap. 581 (H.B. 1680); Md. Code (1957, 1976 Repl. Vol., 1977 Cum. Supp.), Art. 27, § 640 (b). Id. at 57, 8 62 A.2d at 424. Regarding the legislative history of H.B. 1680, we comme nted that there was little to suggest that direct result of the crime means anything other than that discerned from the plain language. The history of H.B. 1680 shows th at the Direc tor of the D epartmen t of Legisla tive Reference of the General Assembly had sought, and received, the existing restitutio n statutes of the Colorado, Georgia, and Oklahoma code from their respective legislative bodies. Of these statutes, only the Okla homa statu te provided specifically that, Mon etary restitution shall mean the sum paid by the defendant to the victim of his criminal act to compensate that victim for the economic loss suffered as a direct result of the criminal act of the def ender. 1976 O kla. Ses s. Law s c. 160 , § 5 (emp hasis ad ded). Id. at 58, n.14, 862 A.2d at 425. Pete argued primarily a plain meaning approach to construing § 11-60 3 (a)(1) s direct result language, by which restitution would be limited to the victim of the qualifying crime and that victim s injuries and/or damages arising from that crime. Id. at 59, 862 A.2 d at 426. A lternatively, he urg ed that we apply tort proxim ate cause a nalysis to illuminate what the Legislature meant by direct result. Id. By application of the latter to his facts, the intervening event of his reckless driving incident, occurring in another part of the city from where the assault took place8 and approximately two hours later, would break the cha in of ca usation betwe en the a ssault an d the da mage to the po lice cruis er. Id. 8 No hot p ursuit was in process in c onnection with the ea rlier assault. 11 In Pete, the State advocated a broad reading of § 11-603. Under its approach, if the State can obtain a conviction for a crime where restitution may be had, but is not ordered, and [also] conviction of [an other], related crime, then restitution may be ordered to the appropriate victims as an appropriate sentence under the related crime. Such a reading w ould require solely a nexus betwee n the defendant s criminal activity and the losses that form the basis for an order of restitution. Id. at 60, 862 A.2d at 426. Th e nexus w ould be satisfied if the losses were merely related to the crime or crimes for which a defendant was convicted. Thus, un der the State s Single C harging D ocumen t doctrine, an y count for which a defendant is convicted under the same charging document would be sufficient to satisfy the direct r esult sta ndard. Id. The Court in Pete declined sp ecifically to engage in tort proximate cause analysis (id. at 60, 826 A.2d at 420, n.15) or even to weigh the persuasion quotient of an attenuated nexus between the damages to [the police cruiser] and the assault . . . . Id. at 60-61, 826 A.2d at 426-27.9 Instead, we explained: The General Assembly has required a direct result between the qualifying crime comm itted and the damage s inflicted before restitution may be ordered. Any attempt by a court to cra ft a proximate causation, mere nexus, or single charging document substitute would b e clearly contrary to the plainly-worded intent of § 11-603. 9 The trial judge s co mments in this case imply that a tort-like ( but f or ) proxim ate cause analysis was used, [d]on t we have to take the victims the way we find them? It is exactly this manner of analysis that the Legislature foreclosed by allowing restitution only where the loss w as the d irect resu lt of the c rime. 12 In this case, the co llision with, and resultant da mage, to Patrolman Cheesman s cruiser are a direct resu lt of Pete s reckless driving, not his assault on Ms. Raickle. The damage to the cruiser is a direc t result of Pete stoppling abruptly, from a relatively high rate of speed, in the path of the cru iser. Reckless driving, by definition, is driving with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. § 21-901.1 of the Transportation Article. In this case, Pete s wanton or willful disregard was for the safety of Patrolman Cheesman, his police cruiser, and po ssibly any ot her per son, vehicle, or property on the same roadway or placed at risk by P ete s driv ing. It is easy to see on this record that the damage to the police cruiser could not be a direct result of the assault on another individual that occurred approximately two hou rs earlier than the ve hicle collision. Id. at 61, 826 A.2d at 427. The facts of the present case compel a similar conclusion to that reached in Pete, perhaps even more clearly so. Jones s inability to reclaim the undamaged motorcycles was not the direct result of Williams s theft of them. While there is undeniably a causal link between the theft in Baltimore County and the motorcycles ending up in the Baltimo re City impoundment lot, that nexus does not partake of the directness required by the statute. Moreover, Jones s failure to produce proof of ownership to secure release of the vehicles is in no way a direct result of their underlying theft. The aftermath of the theft in this case merely revealed Jones s possible failures to title properly the m otorcycles with the State and/or register them with Baltimore County. If Jones can muster some means of proving ownersh ip and satisfy the B altimore C ity authorities, he pre sumably w ill be able yet to recover the undamaged vehicles. Failing that, Jones may be able to mount a tort or other civil action against Williams where proof of causation of any alleged damages may be less 13 stringent than in the criminal statute governing restitution. See Grey, 363 Md. at 451, 769 A.2d at 895 ( restitution under the statute is a criminal sanction, not a civil remedy ). To compel Williams to make restitution to Jones, under the circumstances revealed by the record in this case, neither complies with the letter of the statute nor fulfills the purposes of restitution (as explicated in Grey, Pete, and Garnett). Rather it operates to make Williams the insurer of Jones for th e latter s possib le failure to title and/or register the vehicles. Any loss that Jones may have suffered here (if indeed such may be found to have occurred on these facts) is not represented in the reco rd by any damag e to or loss of value cau sed directly by the theft. 9 OCTOBER 2003 ORDER AND JUDGMENT OF RESTITUTION ENTERED IN THIS CASE BY THE C IRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY VACATED; COSTS TO BE PAID BY BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND. 14