Car vandal granted re-sentencing on appeal

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

A woman from Easton who did not contest charges she intentionally damaged two vehicles in Foster Township does not have to pay $800 in court-ordered restitution.

But that does not mean Shana Shamane Ramos, 48, is off the hook.

State Superior Court on Wednesday vacated Ramos’ sentence and restitution imposed by Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough, ruling that the judge’s decision to hold set a restitution amount months after sentencing was illegal.

But the appeals court’s order also called for Ramos to be re-sentenced.

The case

Ramos was charged by state police with damaging two vehicles at her former boyfriend’s residence on Hickory Hills Drive on Sept. 1, 2015.

Ramos arrived at the ex-boyfriend’s house and repeatedly knocked on the door for nearly 45 minutes before leaving. A family member later discovered damage to two vehicles parked in the driveway, according to court records.

Ramos was charged with two counts of criminal mischief.

Under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office, prosecutors withdrew a second-degree misdemeanor of criminal mischief in exchange for Ramos to plead no contest to a summary charge of criminal mischief.

A no contest plea means a defendant does not accept or deny responsibility, but agrees to accept punishment.

Vough’s actions

Vough accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Ramos to a $50 fine on Oct. 17, 2017, and ordered a restitution hearing at a later date, which was held March 27 when she was ordered to pay $800.

Ramos, through her court appointed appellate attorney, Matthew Kelly, appealed the sentence and restitution to Superior Court, claiming prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove she owed $800.

The Superior Court declined to rule on the amount of restitution Ramos owes but vacated the Oct. 17, 2017, sentencing hearing and the March 27 restitution hearing, calling the separate hearings “illegal.”

“…we continue to see courts make a general order of restitution as part of the sentence but postpone the actual specifics to a later date. This practice is contrary to law. In other words, a sentence intended to include restitution, which is initially entered without a definite amount and a method of payment is illegal and must be vacated in its entirety,” a three member panel of the Superior Court ruled.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]