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State v. W.P., a minor (4/24/2015) ap-2450

State v. W.P., a minor (4/24/2015) ap-2450

                                                   NOTICE
  

         The text of this opinion can be corrected before the opinion is published in the  

         Pacific Reporter.  Readers are encouraged to bring typographical or other formal  

         errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts:   



                                 303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska  99501
  

                                            Fax:  (907) 264-0878
  

                                    E-mail:  corrections @ akcourts.us
  



                IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ALASKA  



STATE OF ALASKA,  

                                                                  Court of Appeals No. A-11739  

                                   Appellant,                    Trial Court No. 4BE-11-014 DL  



                          v.  

                                                                             O P I N I O N 

W.P., a minor, and A.P., his parent,  



                                   Appellees.                       No. 2450 - April 24, 2015  



                 Appeal from the Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel,  

                 Charles W. Ray, Jr., Judge.  



                 Appearances:  Donald Soderstrom, Assistant Attorney General,  

                 Office  of  Special  Prosecutions  and  Appeals,  Anchorage,  and  

                 Michael   C.   Geraghty,   Attorney   General,   Juneau,   for   the  

                 Appellant.  Callie Patton Kim, Assistant Public Defender, and  

                                                   

                 Quinlan  Steiner,  Public  Defender,  Anchorage,  for  Appellee  

                 W.P..  Shelley K. Chaffin, Law Office of Shelley K. Chaffin,  

                 Anchorage, for Appellee A.P..  



                 Before:  Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Hanley,  

                                               

                 District Court Judge. *  

                                               



                 Judge MANNHEIMER.  



    *    Sitting  by  assignment  made  pursuant  to  Article  IV,  Section  16  of  the  Alaska  



Constitution and Administrative Rule 24(d).  


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

                    In November 2011, W.P. was adjudicated a delinquent minor based on his  

                                                                                       



admission that he committed arson by burning a building.  The superior court placed  

                                              



W.P. on probation for one year - i.e., until November 3, 2012.  



                    As  a  result  of  W.P.'s  delinquency  adjudication,  the  superior  court  was  



required by law to order W.P. and his mother, A.P., to make restitution for the damage  

                                                                                             



that W.P. caused.  See AS 47.12.120(b)(4)(A)-(B).  The superior court's judgement did,  

                                                                              



in  fact,  specify  that  W.P.  and  A.P.  were  to  make  restitution  in  an  amount  to  be  

                                  



determined later.    



                    W.P. later reached an agreement with the State to pay a specific amount of  

                                                                      



restitution, and the superior court accepted this agreement.  However, the litigation of  

                                                                                                                 



A.P.'s restitution obligation was delayed for many months because of procedural errors  

                                                                                                          



and problems in obtaining legal counsel for A.P..  



                    The restitution proceedings against A.P. remained unresolved when, in  



early November 2012, her son's juvenile probation ended and the superior court lost its  

                                                                                              



juvenile court jurisdiction over him.   See AS 47.12.160.   



                    At that point, A.P. (through counsel) asked the superior court to dismiss the  



restitution claim against her.  A.P. argued that, under the provisions of AS 47.12.160, the  

                                                                                                         



superior court lost its subject-matter jurisdiction, not just over her son, but over the entire  

                                                                          



case - including any restitution claim against her - when W.P. finished his year's  



probation. The superior court agreed with this interpretation of the statute and dismissed  

                                              



the State's restitution claim against A.P. for lack of jurisdiction.  The State now appeals  



this dismissal.  



                    For the reasons explained in this opinion, we hold that the superior court  

                                                                                                        



continued to have subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate A.P.'s restitution obligation  

                                                   



even after her son's probation ended.  We therefore reverse the decision of the superior  



court.  



                                                              - 2 -                                                        2450
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

          Underlying facts  



                    Sixteen-year-old W.P. set fire to the Coastal Village Regional Fisheries  



building in the village of Quinhagak.  On November 3, 2011, under the terms of a plea  



bargain,  W.P.  formally  admitted  this  conduct,  and  he  was  adjudicated  a  delinquent  

                                                                               



minor.  The plea bargain called for W.P. to be placed on juvenile probation for one year  

                                                             



-  i.e., until November 3, 2012.   



                    The plea bargain also called for W.P. to make restitution in an amount to  

                                                                                                          



be determined later.  In this respect, the plea bargain merely reflected the superior court's  



statutory duty under AS 47.12.120(b)(4).  Under this statute, the court was required to  

                                                                                 



order both W.P. and his mother, A.P., to make restitution for the damage that W.P. had  

                                                                                                                    



caused.  See AS 47.12.120(b)(4)(A)-(B).   



                    The  superior  court's  disposition  order  (i.e.,  its  judgement)  did,  in  fact,  

                                                     



declare  that  both  W.P.  and  his  mother,  A.P.,  were  required  to  pay  restitution  in  an  

                                           



amount to be determined later.   



               (a) The litigation of W.P.'s restitution obligation  



                    The State initially filed a request for restitution in the amount of $103,378.  

                                                                                                   



W.P.  filed  an  objection  to  the  proposed  restitution  amount,  and  the  superior  court  



scheduled a hearing for April 2012.  But at that April hearing, the attorneys for W.P. and  

                                                                               



the  State  announced  that  they  had  reached  an  agreement  concerning  the  amount  of  

                                                                                                           



W.P.'s  restitution  obligation.    The  parties  agreed  that  W.P.  should  pay  $84,878  in  

                                                                                                         



restitution (a reduction of about $20,000 from the amount originally requested).  W.P.'s  



attorney expressly told the court that W.P. "[was] in agreement with [this] restitution  

                                                                  



amount" and "[was] not contesting restitution on his part."   



                                                             - 3 -                                                       2450
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

                    W.P.'s  attorney  also  told  the  court  that  the  State  had  recently  filed  a  



proposed amended restitution order that reflected the parties' agreement.  The superior  

                                                             



court replied, "Haven't seen it, but I'll take your word for it."   



                    However, it appears that this amended restitution order was never filed.  



The superior court's file does not contain any such document.  Indeed, the superior  



court's  file  contains  no  signed  order  setting  the  dollar  amount  of  W.P.'s  restitution  



obligation.  In other words, no one ever followed up on the parties' stipulation (in open  



court) that W.P. would pay restitution in the amount of $84,878.  



               (b) The litigation of A.P.'s restitution obligation  



                    The litigation of A.P.'s restitution obligation was repeatedly delayed, over  

                                                                                      



a period of more than a year, because of procedural errors and problems in obtaining an  

                                                                                      



attorney for A.P..   



                    The first procedural error occurred in November 2011:  the superior court  

                                                                                                      



neglected to serve its judgement on A.P.  The following month, when the State filed its  

                            



proposed restitution order (specifying a dollar amount of $103,378 for the damage), the  

                                                                     



State neglected to serve A.P. with the proposed order.  Then, in mid-January 2012, when  

                                                                               



the superior court issued a notice saying that restitution would be ordered in the amount  



requested by the State unless there was an objection, the court again neglected to serve  

                                                           



A.P..   



                    As we have already explained, W.P. (who was served with this notice) filed  

                                                                                        



an  objection  to  the  proposed  restitution  amount,  and  the  superior  court  accordingly  



scheduled a restitution hearing in April 2012.  But again, no one notified A.P. of this  

                                                                                                                       



hearing.  Indeed, at this hearing, W.P.'s attorney told the court that, as far as the attorney  

                                                                                                           



knew, A.P. remained unaware that anyone was seeking restitution from her.   



                                                            - 4 -                                                       2450
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                    A follow-up hearing was held at the end of May 2012 - but, again, no one  

                                                           



notified A.P. of the proceedings.  The superior court ruled (correctly) that this hearing  

                               



could not go forward because A.P. was entitled to notice of the proceedings, as well as  

                                                                                        



an opportunity to obtain counsel.  The court decided to send a letter to A.P. informing  



her of the State's restitution request, the date of the next hearing (July 2012), and the  

                                                                                                                         



telephone number of the Alaska Legal Services Corporation. The State also notified A.P.  

                                                                                             



of the July hearing.   



                    A.P.  appeared telephonically at this July 2012 hearing, but she told the  

                                            



court that she had been at fish camp, and that she had been unable to contact Alaska  

                                      



Legal Services until recently.  Because A.P. had not had the opportunity to consult an  



attorney, the superior court continued the hearing until August 2nd.   



                    The restitution claim was not resolved at the August 2nd hearing because  

                                                                                                     



Alaska Legal Services took the position that they could not represent A.P. (because  



delinquency matters were the equivalent of criminal cases, and thus beyond the agency's  

                                                                  



purview).  The superior court continued the hearing until August 31st, and the court  



appointed the Office of Public Advocacy to represent A.P. - even though it was unclear  

                                                                                                                   



whether that agency was authorized to represent someone in A.P.'s position.   



                    At the August 31st hearing, the Office of Public Advocacy did, indeed, take  

                                                                                  



the position that they were not authorized to represent someone in A.P.'s position, and  

                                                                                    



they moved to withdraw from further representation of A.P..   The court granted this  

                                                                                                                 



motion.    Then,  under  the  authority  of  Alaska  Administrative  Rule  12(e),  the  court  



appointed a private attorney, Heather Sia, to represent A.P. in the restitution matter.  At  

                                                                                               



the same time, the court scheduled the next restitution hearing for November 29, 2012  

                                      



- a date beyond the expiration of W.P.'s one-year juvenile probation.   



                    For reasons not explained in the record, no hearing was held in November  

                                                                                                         



2012.   Instead, the next hearing was held six weeks later, in January 2013.  At that  

                                                                                            



                                                              - 5 -                                                         2450
  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

hearing, A.P.'s attorney informed the court that she would be filing a motion concerning  

                                                                 



the court's jurisdiction.   



                    That jurisdictional motion was filed at the end of February 2013.  In this  

                                                 



motion, A.P.'s attorney contended that, under the terms of AS 47.12.160, the superior  

                                                                                               



court lost its jurisdiction over the entire case when W.P.'s juvenile probation ended (on  

                                                                                                    



November 3, 2012).  Thus, the attorney argued, the superior court no longer had the  



authority to enter a restitution order against A.P..  



                    The superior court ultimately agreed that it had lost its jurisdiction over the  

                                                                                                    



entire  case  when  W.P.'s  probation  ended  in  November  2012.    The  superior  court  

                                                        



therefore granted A.P.'s motion to dismiss the restitution proceedings.   



                    (W.P. did not participate in the litigation of this jurisdictional issue.)  



  



          Why we conclude that we should reach the State's arguments about the  

                        

          superior court's subject-matter jurisdiction, even though the State did not  

          raise these arguments until it filed its motion for reconsideration of the  

          superior court's order of dismissal  



                    In this appeal, the State contends that the superior court was wrong when  

                                                                             



it  concluded  that  its  entire  jurisdiction  over  this  case  ended  when  W.P.'s  juvenile  



probation ended, and that AS 47.12.160(a) precluded the court from entertaining any  



further proceedings on the question of A.P.'s restitution obligation.   



                    But the State did not raise this argument when it initially responded to  



A.P.'s motion to dismiss, even though A.P. explicitly argued that the superior court had  

                                                                 



lost its subject-matter jurisdiction over the case.  In the State's initial response, the State  

                                                                                             



more or less conceded that the superior court's jurisdiction  had ended when W.P.'s  

                                           



probation ended - but the State argued that A.P. had waived this jurisdictional defect  

                                     



                                                             - 6 -                                                       2450
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

by not demanding a quicker resolution of the restitution question. (The State is no longer                      



pursuing this waiver theory.)  



                       Only  after  the  superior  court  granted  A.P.'s  motion  to  dismiss  (on  the  



ground that the court's jurisdiction over the case had ended) did the State finally argue  

                                                                      



that, despite the provisions of AS 47.12.160(a), the superior court retained continuing  



jurisdiction to resolve the issue of A.P.'s restitution obligation.   



                       The superior court denied the State's motion for reconsideration by failing  

                                                                                                          

to rule on it within 30 days. 1                                                     

                                                    We conclude that this was error:  the superior court was  



required to address the merits of the State's jurisdictional argument.   



                       Normally, a court is under no obligation to consider arguments raised for  

                                                                      

the first time in a motion for reconsideration. 2  

                                                                                 And if the court decides not to address  



                                                                                                                                           3  

the party's argument, the party is not allowed to pursue that argument on appeal.    



                                                                                                                     

                       But the rule is different when the issue to be resolved is the court's subject- 



                                                                                                       

matter jurisdiction - i.e., the court's legal authority to hear and decide a particular type  



of case.   



                       The question of subject-matter jurisdiction takes precedence over all others.  



                                                      

"[Because] a court which does not have subject matter jurisdiction is without power to  



                                                                                                                   

decide a case, this issue cannot be waived, and [it] can be raised at any point during the  



                                                                          

litigation."  Wanamaker v. Scott, 788 P.2d 712, 713 n. 2 (Alaska 1990).  Indeed, a court  



      1     See  Alaska  Delinquency  Rule  17(a),  which  declares  that   motion  practice  in  



delinquency cases is governed by the Criminal Rules, and Alaska Criminal Rule 42(k)(4),  

which declares that if the court has not ruled on a motion for reconsideration within 30 days,  

"the motion shall be taken as denied."   



      2     Cooper v. District Court, 133 P.3d 692, 715-16 (Alaska App. 2006).  



      3     Ibid.  



                                                                      - 7 -                                                                 2450
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

is required to resolve a question as to its own subject-matter jurisdiction, even when the                         



                                                                                                                        4  

court has identified a jurisdictional question that the parties have not raised.     



                                                                                                   

                     So, for example, in Knipe v. State , 305 P.3d 359, 362 (Alaska App. 2013),  



this Court entertained (and ordered supplemental briefing on) an issue of subject-matter  



jurisdiction that was raised for the first time in the defendant's reply brief - even though  

                                                                     

issues raised for the first time in a reply brief are normally waived. 5  

                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                             See also Fletcher  



v.  State,  258  P.3d  874,  877  (Alaska  App.  2011)  (the  court's  lack  of  subject-matter  



jurisdiction is a defect that is not waived by a defendant's no contest plea).   



                                                                                                              

                     The present case is slightly different from the ones we referred to in the  



                                                                                              

preceding two paragraphs.  In the present case, the superior court had already ruled that  



                                                                                                   

it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction, and the State sought reconsideration, arguing  



                                   

that  this  ruling  was  a  mistake  -  that  the  court  did  in  fact  have  subject-matter  



                                                                                       

jurisdiction.  But even though the State's jurisdictional argument was raised in a motion  



                                                                    

for reconsideration, the superior court was nevertheless obligated to address the State's  



argument.  



                     The guiding principle here is that, if a court has subject-matter jurisdiction  

                                                                               



over a particular category of case, the court is required to adjudicate all such cases that  



are  properly  brought  to  it.    "[I]t  is  a  time-honored  maxim  of  the  Anglo-American  

                      



common-law tradition that a court possessed of jurisdiction generally must exercise it."  



 Ohio v. Wyandotte Chemicals Corp., 401 U.S. 493, 496-97; 91 S.Ct. 1005, 1009; 28  

                                



L.Ed.2d 256 (1971).  



                     In American jurisprudence, the most famous enunciation of this principle  

                                                                                                                



is found in Chief Justice Marshall's opinion in Cohens v. Virginia:  



      4    Robertson v. Riplett , 194 P.3d 382, 386 (Alaska 2008); Reandeau v. State , 265 P.3d  



 1045, 1058 (Alaska App. 2011).  



      5    Ahvakana v. State , 283 P.3d 1284, 1288 (Alaska App. 2012).  



                                                                - 8 -                                                            2450
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

                              

                                                                                                                   

                                        It is most true that this court will not take jurisdiction  

                                                                                                                          

                           if  it  should  not:    but  it  is  equally  true,  that  it  must  take  

                                                                                                                                     

                           jurisdiction  if  it  should.    The  judiciary  cannot,  as  the  

                                                                                                                     

                           legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the  

                           confines of the constitution [or] because it is doubtful.  With  

                                                                                                                                    

                           whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be  

                           attended, we must decide it, if it be brought before us.  We  

                                       

                           have  no  more  right  to  decline  the  exercise  of  jurisdiction  

                           which is given, than to usurp that which is not given.  



                                                                                                                      6  

 Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264, 404; 5 L.Ed. 257 (1821).     



                           This   same   principle   is   echoed   in   many   state   court   decisions   as  

well. 7  

               Indeed, the Supreme Court of Indiana has declared that when a court wrongfully  

                                                                                                   



refuses to hear a case within its jurisdiction, an aggrieved litigant is entitled to seek an  

                                             



 appellate writ of mandamus, ordering the lower court to hear the case:  "[M]andate will  

                                                                                                                                  



lie to require an inferior court to hear the merits of a cause where it was improperly  

                                   



       6     Accord , Ex parte Young , 209 U.S. 123, 143; 28 S.Ct. 441, 447; 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908);     



 Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, Gen.  

 Comm. of Adjustment, Central Region, 558 U.S. 67, 71; 130 S.Ct. 584, 175 L.Ed.2d 428  

 (2009) ("[W]hen jurisdiction is conferred, a court may not decline to exercise it.").  



       7      See (in chronological order) Ex parte Davis , 41 Me. 38, 50; 1856 WL 2084 (Me.                                                             



                                                                                                     

 1856) ("[A court's] right and the duty to consider and decide [a case] are inseparable."); State  

ex rel. Lopez v. Killigrew                       , 174 N.E. 808, 809 (Ind. 1931) ("[W]hen a court has jurisdiction       

over a class of cases and one seeking relief invokes the jurisdiction of the court in the manner     

prescribed by law, ... the court cannot refuse jurisdiction.");                                                   Shewbrooks v. A.C. and S. Inc.,  

                                                                

 529 So.2d 557, 560 (Miss. 1988) ("When we have a case before us which we have the lawful  

                                                                                          

authority to decide, we have no  authority not to decide it.  We ... cannot refuse to hear a  

                                                                                                                                             

case[.]"); Pierce v. Albertson's Inc. , 911 P.2d 877, 881 (N.M. 1996) ("The courts of this state  

                            

have a duty to hear matters properly brought before them[.]"); Betensky v. Opcon Associates,  

                                                                                                               

Inc. , 738 A.2d 1171, 1176 (Conn. Super. 1999) ("Courts, as institutions, have an obligation  

to hear cases properly brought before them."); Rutherford Electric Membership Corp. v. 130  

of  Chatham,  LLC,  763  S.E.2d  296,  300  (N.C.  App.  2014)  ("While  courts  shall  not  take  

jurisdiction when it is not granted, likewise courts must take jurisdiction when there is an  

 express grant.").  



                                                                                  - 9 -                                                                             2450
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

dismissed [for want of subject-matter jurisdiction]."  Rosenbarger v. Marion Circuit  



Court, 155 N.E.2d 125, 127 (Ind. 1959).  



                   Accordingly, in the present case, the superior court was required to address  

                                                                  



the  merits  of  the  State's  motion  for  reconsideration  on  the  issue  of  subject-matter  

                                      



jurisdiction - because, if the State was right, it would be plain error for the superior  



court to fail to exercise its jurisdiction to adjudicate A.P.'s restitution obligation.  



                   But we need not remand this case for further consideration by the superior  



court.  Given the facts of this case, the jurisdictional issue presented here is purely one  

                                                   



of law.  Thus, even if the superior court had actively reconsidered the question of its  

                                                                                                                    



subject-matter jurisdiction, this Court would not defer to the superior court's ruling.  



Instead, we would decide the issue de novo - which we proceed to do now.  



          Why we conclude that the superior court continues to have jurisdiction to  

                                                                                       

          enter a restitution order against A.P.  



                   Under  Alaska  law,  a  minor's  parents  are  parties  to  any  delinquency  

                                                                                              

proceeding against their child. 8  

                                                  And if a minor is adjudicated delinquent based on  



                                                                                         

conduct that causes compensable damage to another person, the superior court must  



"order ... the minor's parent to make suitable restitution" unless the minor was a runaway  



or was missing at the time of the delinquent conduct (and the parent had reported this  

                                                 



fact to the police).  AS 47.12.120(b)(4)(A)-(B).  



                   Therefore, when the superior court found W.P. to be a delinquent minor  



based on his act of arson, the superior court was required to order both W.P. and his  

                                       



     8    Alaska  Delinquency  Rule  2(n).    See  also  Delinquency  Rules  8(b)  and  (c),  which  



require the superior court to issue a summons to the minor's parents at the beginning of a  

delinquency proceeding, and to serve (or require service of) a copy of the petition on the  

parents.   



                                                         - 10 -                                                     2450
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

mother, A.P., to pay restitution.  And the superior court did, in fact, order both W.P. and  

                                                                                     



A.P. to make restitution.  Paragraph 2 of the court's disposition order states:  "It is ...  



ordered that the minor and the minor's parent(s) make restitution as provided in the  

                                                               



Restitution Order ... [that] will be forthcoming in a separate document."   



                    But the amount of A.P.'s restitution obligation remains unresolved.  As we  

                                                                                           



have explained, the State and the superior court repeatedly failed to provide proper notice  

                                                                        



to A.P. about the State's efforts to establish a dollar amount for the restitution.  Then,  



after A.P. finally did receive proper notice, it took several months for the superior court  



to find a lawyer to represent A.P..  And by the time a lawyer was procured and the issue  

                                                     



was finally ready to be litigated, W.P.'s one-year juvenile probation had ended.  



                     The superior court concluded that the ending of W.P.'s probation marked  



the end of the court's jurisdiction to adjudicate A.P.'s restitution obligation.  The court's  

                                                                                                  



ruling was based on the provisions of AS 47.12.160, a statute entitled "Retention of  



jurisdiction over minor".  Subsection (a) of this statute provides (in pertinent part):  



                      

                               (a)  [The  superior  court]  retains  jurisdiction  over  [a  

                                     

                     delinquency]  case  and  may  at  any  time  stay  execution,  

                                                                                       

                    modify, set aside, revoke, or enlarge a judgment or order, or  

                                                                                               

                     grant a new hearing, ... for a period of time not to exceed the  

                                                                                       

                    maximum period otherwise permitted by law or in any event  

                                                                                          

                     ... past the day the minor becomes 19, unless [the minor is]  

                     sooner discharged by the court ... .  



The superior court interpreted this provision to mean that the court lost all authority over  

                                                                                                               



the case - including any authority to enter a final restitution order against A.P. - on  

                                                                                                                    



the day that W.P.'s juvenile probation expired.  



                    But   the   delinquency   statutes   contain   two   other   provisions   dealing  

                                                        



specifically with restitution, and both of these provisions grant extended subject-matter  

                                                                       



jurisdiction to the superior court on the issue of restitution.   



                                                             - 11 -                                                         2450
  


----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

                     Subsection (f) of AS 47.12.160 states that, notwithstanding other provisions  



 of law, the superior court "shall accept ... prepayments of restitution  or payments in  



 anticipation   of  an   order   of   restitution."      (Emphasis   added.)      In   other   words,  

                          



 notwithstanding the temporal jurisdictional limitation codified in subsection (a) of the  

                                                                                                                     



 statute, the superior court is still required to accept payments from a minor or a minor's  

                                                  



 parent toward a restitution obligation that the parties anticipate the court will issue in the  

            



future .  



                     This provision strongly implies that in situations like the present case -  

                                             



 instances where the superior court has issued a disposition order that directs a minor and  

                               



 a minor's parent to pay restitution in an amount to be determined later - the superior  

                                                                                                                 



 court retains subject-matter jurisdiction to issue a final order fixing the dollar amount of  

                                                                                                                    



 the restitution even after the court has lost its jurisdiction to alter other aspects of the  



 delinquency judgement under the provisions of subsection (a).   



                     A similar expansion of the superior court's subject-matter jurisdiction is  



 found in AS 47.12.170(a), a statute that deals directly with the enforcement of restitution  

                                         



 orders in delinquency cases.  This statute declares that if the superior court orders a  

                                                                                



 minor or their parent to pay restitution as part of the court's disposition order under  

                                                                                                                 



 AS  47.12.120,  that  portion  of  the  court's  order  "is  a  civil  judgment  that  remains  

                                                  



 enforceable  after  the  expiration  of  the  court's  jurisdiction  over  the  minor  under  



 AS 47.12.160."   



                     Again, this provision suggests (although it does not explicitly say) that once  



 the  superior  court  orders  a  parent  to  pay  restitution,  the  court  retains  a  continuing  



 authority to establish or adjust the precise dollar amount of this restitution obligation, or  



 to take other action relating to the enforcement of this obligation (such as establishing  



 or altering a payment schedule).  



                                                             - 12 -                                                        2450
  


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

                    These statutory provisions support the State's position that, despite the  



ending  of  W.P.'s   juvenile  probation,  the  superior  court  retained  subject-matter  



jurisdiction (1) to adjudicate the dollar amount of A.P.'s restitution obligation, and then  

                   



(2) to issue a final restitution order directing her to pay that amount.  



                    The Alaska Legislature has endorsed a policy of obtaining restitution for  



the  damages  or  injuries  suffered  by  crime  victims.    As  we  explained  earlier  in  this  

                          



opinion,  the  statute  governing  disposition  orders  in  delinquency  cases  requires  the  

                                                                                  



superior court to order restitution.  See also AS 12.55.045(a) and Maillelle v. State , 276  



P.3d 476, 479 (Alaska App. 2012) (recognizing this same policy in criminal cases).  



                      Interpreting  the  provisions  of  AS  47.12  to  give  the  superior  court  

                                          



continuing  subject-matter  jurisdiction  over  the  issue  of  restitution  would  obviously  



advance this legislative policy.  On the other hand, the superior court's interpretation of  

                                                                                   



these statutes - the interpretation proposed by A.P. - would defeat that policy.  



                    In  the  present  case,  for  example,  the  delinquent  minor  was  placed  on  

                                                                                                  



probation for one year.  There will be times when a court might require a year, or longer,  



to finally determine the amount of restitution due from the minor and the minor's parent  

                                                                                                  



-  either  because  of  the  types  of  procedural  difficulties  illustrated  by  this  case,  or  



because the calculation of the restitution is complicated, or the amount of restitution is  

                                                                                                



disputed, or because of a combination of these factors.   



                    Under A.P.'s suggested interpretation of the statutes, a minor or a parent  

                                                                                   



could avoid restitution altogether, not because restitution was unwarranted or unfair, but  

                                                                      



simply because the superior court needed more time to properly complete the restitution  

                                                                               



litigation.   This would defeat the public policy behind the requirement of restitution,  

                  



without materially advancing any other contravening policy.  



                    For these reasons, we interpret the provisions of AS 47.12.160 and 170 as  

                                                                                              



conferring extended subject-matter jurisdiction to the superior court on the question of  

                                                                                                                  



                                                             - 13 -                                                        2450
  


----------------------- Page 14-----------------------

restitution.  When, as here, the superior court has issued a disposition order directing a  

                                  



minor or a minor's parent to make restitution in an amount to be determined later, the  

                                                                               



court retains continuing subject-matter jurisdiction (1) to adjudicate the dollar amount  



of that restitution obligation, and then (2) to issue a final restitution order directing the  



minor or the parent to pay that amount, either immediately or in a series of scheduled  



payments.  



           Why we conclude that the superior court continues to have jurisdiction to  

                        

          enter a restitution order against W.P.  



                    As we explained earlier, W.P. and the State reached an agreement that W.P.  

                                                                  



would pay restitution in the amount of $84,878.  This agreement was presented in open  

                                                                                                  



court, and W.P.'s attorney told the court that the State had filed a proposed restitution  

                 



order incorporating this agreement.  But the proposed order was, in fact, never filed, and  

          



the  superior  court  has  never  issued  an  order  setting  the  dollar  amount  of  W.P.'s  

                                                                                                      



restitution obligation.   



                    When A.P. litigated the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction in the superior  

                                                                                            



court, W.P. did not participate. Even after the superior court ruled in A.P.'s favor on the  

                                                                                   



jurisdictional  issue,  W.P.  did  not  ask  the  superior  court  to  vacate  his  agreed-upon  



restitution obligation.   



                    But now, on appeal, W.P. argues that his restitution obligation should be  

                                                                                                    



invalidated.  W.P.'s argument is based on the same legal premise as A.P.'s argument.  

                                                                                        



W.P. notes that, at the time his probation ended, the superior court (apparently through  

                                                                                             



oversight) had never issued a formal order incorporating the parties' agreement as to the  



dollar amount of W.P.'s restitution obligation.  W.P. contends that it is now too late for  

                                                                                                     



the superior court to issue such an order (or to take any other action to enforce W.P.'s  



agreement with the State).  



                                                             - 14 -                                                        2450
  


----------------------- Page 15-----------------------

                        Given the procedural history of this case, one might suspect that W.P. is  

equitably estopped from pursuing this argument. 9  

                                                                                            But we need not decide that issue.  



As we explained in the preceding section of this opinion, the underlying premise of  



W.P.'s  argument  is  incorrect:    the  superior  court  continues  to  have  subject-matter  



jurisdiction to adjudicate W.P.'s restitution obligation - or, more precisely, to issue an  

                                                                                                                                        



order  incorporating  the  agreement  that  W.P.  reached  with  the  State  regarding  his  



restitution obligation.    



            Conclusion  



                        The decision of the superior court is REVERSED, and we remand this case  

                                                                                    



to the superior court for further proceedings to adjudicate A.P.'s restitution obligation.  

                                                                                                                    



We also direct the superior court to take the ministerial step of issuing an appropriate  

                                                              



order establishing the dollar amount of W.P.'s restitution obligation (in conformity with  



the agreement reached between W.P. and the State).  



                        We do not retain jurisdiction over this case.  



      9     See Sowinski  v.  Walker,  198  P.3d  1134,  1147  (Alaska  2008),  which  explains  the  



related doctrines of quasi-estoppel and equitable estoppel, both of which bar a party from  

taking a position that is inconsistent with the party's earlier position if "allowing that party                                           

to maintain the latter, inconsistent position would be unconscionable" (quasi-estoppel) or if                           

another  person  "has  reasonably  and  detrimentally  relied"  on  the  party's  earlier  position  

(equitable estoppel).  



                                                                        - 15 -                                                                   2450
  

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