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People v. Stanley

August 3, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
LEROY STANLEY, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Yolo County, Paul K. Richardson, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. 09-3110).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1

We here decide how to calculate a victim's property damages for purposes of a victim restitution order. When a criminal damages a victim's vehicle, we conclude the trial court may in its discretion award the victim the cost of repairing the vehicle, even if that amount exceeds the replacement value of the vehicle. In doing so, we agree with In re Dina V. (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 486 (Dina V.) and disagree with People v. Yanez (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 1622 (Yanez).

BACKGROUND

Defendant Leroy Stanley pled no contest to felony vandalism of Patricia Short-Lyster's truck, in exchange for a 16-month prison sentence, the dismissal of other charges, and the prosecutor's promise not to file other charges. Short-Lyster and defendant were not acquainted.

The facts show that on July 2, 2009, defendant damaged Stoddard's pickup truck, a 1975 Dodge Adventurer, for which she paid $950, a year and a half earlier. When purchased, the truck was in excellent condition. Stoddard's father, a former auto mechanic, looked at the truck and advised her to buy it. After defendant vandalized it, Stoddard obtained a body shop estimate to fix it, amounting to $2,812.94.

The trial court sentenced defendant to a stipulated term of 16 months in state prison.

Over defendant's objection that it would give the victim a windfall, the trial court ordered restitution in the amount of the repairs, $2,812.94.

Defendant timely appealed, specifying a challenge to the restitution amount.

DISCUSSION

I. Victim Restitution

Defendant contends the matter must be remanded for the trial court to reconsider the restitution award, because it was unreasonable to award the victim nearly three times the cost of her truck as restitution. We disagree.

"One portion of Proposition 8, the 'Victims' Bill of Rights,' passed by the people in the exercise of their reserved initiative powers in 1982, states 'that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to... restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes for losses they suffer.' (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28, subd. (b)(13)(A); see People v. Saint-Amans (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 1076, 1081.)" (People v. Bartell (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1258, 1261.)

"'A victim's restitution right is to be broadly and liberally construed.' [Citation.] '"'[S]entencing judges are given virtually unlimited discretion as to the kind of information they can consider'"' in determining victim restitution. [Citations.] Restitution orders are reviewed for abuse of discretion. [Citation.] When there is a factual and rational basis for the amount of restitution ...


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