PHILIP PAUL INGRAM JR.
STATE OF MARYLAND
Circuit Court for Baltimore County Case No. 03-K-16-001755
Barbera, C.J., Greene [*] Adkins McDonald Hotten Getty
Harrell, Glenn T., Jr., (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned)
Ask, and it will be given to you. . . . Matthew 7:7
Md. Code, Crim. Proc. § 11-603(b)(1). vs.
Even if you don't ask, "sometimes you get what you
need." The Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get
What You Want, Let it Bleed album
(Decca Records 1969).
Md. Code, Crim. Law § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2).
called upon here to construe (based on purely secular legal
principles) assertedly opposing statutory provisions of the
Maryland Code regarding court-ordered restitution in theft
cases. Petitioner, Philip Ingram Jr. ("Ingram"),
urges us to find that orders of restitution in all criminal
cases, including a prosecution for theft under Criminal Law
Article, § 7-104 ("§ 7-104"), are
governed exclusively by the procedural requirements of Title
11 of the Criminal Procedure Article ("Title 11").
Ingram seeks to overturn a restitution order, stemming from
his theft conviction, requiring him to pay his victim the
value of the goods he stole, i.e., $18, 964.55. Ingram points
out specifically that Title 11 contains a provision (§
11-603(b)(1)) that obliges the victim or State to request
restitution in order to trigger a presumed right to receive
restitution, a prerequisite not satisfied in his case. The
State retorts that, in theft cases, § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2)
of the Criminal Law Article provides independent authority
(indeed, a mandate) for a court to order restitution as part
of a sentence for a theft conviction, regardless of a request
for that relief. For reasons to be explained, we hold that
the restitution requirement in § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2)
authorizes a court in a theft case to award restitution,
regardless of whether the State or the victim requests that
relief. Thus, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Special
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was employed by BJ's Wholesale Club
("BJ's") from 1 October 2015 until 17 November
2015 in its Baltimore County store. On multiple instances
during his relatively brief tenure at BJ's, Ingram was
observed (on store surveillance video) stealing new
automobile tires. When confronted ultimately by BJ's Loss
Prevention Department, Ingram admitted to the theft. His
employment was terminated. He was also arrested by local law
enforcement. In all, Ingram stole approximately 120 tires,
having a total value of $18, 964.55, as attested by a
BJ's representative, Derek Schreck ("Schreck"),
its Regional Asset Protection Manager.
was charged initially in the District Court of Maryland,
sitting in Baltimore County, with two counts, theft and theft
scheme of property having a value of at least $10, 000, but
less than $100, 000. He declined to provide information to
either the police or BJ's regarding the party or parties
to whom he transferred the tires.
Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Ingram entered a guilty
plea to an amended count of theft of property valued of at
least $1, 000, but less than $10, 000. The State agreed to
nol pros the theft scheme count. It agreed additionally to
"submit on the Defendant's record and victim
impact" statement, in exchange for the guilty plea.
on-the-record exchange, defense counsel demonstrated
Ingram's understanding of the charge to which he was
pleading guilty. Counsel informed Ingram that the charge
"carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years" and
that the judge was free to "impose up to 10 years of
incarceration." Neither defense counsel, the State, nor
the court advised Ingram at that time that his sentence could
(or could not) contain also an order to pay restitution. The
court accepted Ingram's plea and found him guilty.
sentencing, defense counsel noted that Ingram suffered from
drug addiction. In view of this, his counsel requested the
court to impose a partially-suspended sentence and allow
Ingram to participate in a drug treatment program during his
incarceration. The State abstained from making a specific
sentencing recommendation. Rather, the State submitted
Ingram's criminal record, which included misdemeanor
theft convictions from 2012 and 2015.
testified during sentencing as the victim's
representative. He stated that BJ's missed by $21, 331
its budgeted profit plan, for that part of the store's
department that included tire sales, and attributed the
shortfall to Ingram's theft. Schreck expressed sympathy
for Ingram, stating that "I just hope that he learns a
lesson and, you know, gets himself treatment." Schreck
did not request restitution for the $18, 964.55 described
earlier as the value of the tires or the asserted "lost
court sentenced Ingram to 10 years of incarceration, with all
but 18 months suspended in favor of three years of probation.
The judge ordered also Ingram to pay to BJ's $18, 964.55
in restitution. Defense counsel remonstrated that there had
been no request for restitution. The court explained:
I know this is a large company, but when things like this
happen companies go out of business, then all of those other
people who work there who need those jobs to pay for their
mortgage, to pay for their rent, to pay for the food for
their kids don't have those jobs. So it's not a
victimless crime because it's a company. I expect
restitution in the amount of $18, 964.55.
moved for modification of his sentence, renewing his
objection to the order of restitution on the ground that
neither the State nor the victim requested restitution. The
court denied this motion.
filed an application for leave to appeal from his guilty
plea. He argued that the circuit court erred in ordering
restitution because neither the State nor the victim
requested such relief. He maintained additionally that the
guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily because
he relied assertedly on the prosecutors' alleged oral
representation during plea negotiations that restitution
would not be sought. The Court of Special Appeals granted
Ingram's application for leave to appeal.
appeal, Ingram argued that the circuit court was not
permitted to order him to pay restitution without a request
from the victim or the State, as provided under Title 11,
§ 11-603(b)(1) of the Criminal Procedure Article of the
Maryland Code. The State countered that restitution was
proper because restitution was not ordered under Title 11 of
the Criminal Procedure Article, but rather under §
7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) of the Criminal Law Article, which mandates
restitution in theft cases. In affirming the order of
restitution, the Court of Special Appeals concluded, in a per
curiam opinion, that the sentencing judge was obliged to
order restitution pursuant to § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) of the
Maryland Criminal Law Article.
granted Ingram's petition for writ of certiorari. Ingram
advanced for our consideration a bifurcated inquiry,
which we reconstruct as three catechisms for analysis:
1. Does § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) of the Criminal Law Article
provide authority, independent of § 11-603 of the
Criminal Procedure Article, for a court to order restitution
in a theft case?
2. Is a court's authority to order restitution governed
pre-eminently by the restitution provision in the Criminal
3. Where a defendant is convicted of theft, may a court order
the defendant to pay restitution when neither the victim nor
the State request it?
regard to the first two questions, we hold that Criminal Law
Article § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) provides independent
authority for a court to order restitution in a theft case as
a specific "theft exception" to the general
restitution provision, § 11-603(b)(1), found in the
Criminal Procedure Article. A court's authority to order
restitution is governed ordinarily by the general restitution
provisions in Title 11 of the Criminal Procedure Article,
subject however to the theft exception noted above. As to
question three, because § 7-104(g)(1)(i)(2) provides
independent authority for a court to order restitution in a
theft case, a court may order a defendant convicted of theft
to pay restitution as authorized by the penalty provision of
that section, regardless of whether the State or the victim
requested specifically that relief.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review a trial court's restitution order ordinarily for
abuse of discretion. Silver v. State, 420 Md. 415,
427, 23 A.3d 867, 874 (2011). When determining the propriety
of a restitution order requires the Court to engage in
statutory interpretation, however, the review is conducted
without deference to the trial court's action.
Harrison-Solomon v. State, 442 Md. 254, 265, 112
A.3d 408, 415 (2015).