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The People v. Robert Norman Douglass

April 14, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT NORMAN DOUGLASS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 6288118)

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

P. v. Douglass

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Robert Norman Douglass pleaded no contest to vandalism, attempted vandalism, prowling, driving under the influence and with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more, and driving with a suspended license. The trial court placed defendant on felony probation and subsequently ordered defendant to pay restitution to his victims, including costs for victim mental health counseling, surveillance and alarm systems, and attorney's fees, among other things.

Defendant appeals the restitution order, contending (1) the trial court erred in allowing the prosecutor to delegate its role at the restitution hearing to the victims' private counsel, (2) the restitution award for the cost of a victim's mental health counseling was improper because the counseling was not necessary and was not a "direct result" of the crime of attempted vandalism, (3) the restitution award for the victims' attorney's fees was unreasonable in amount and was inappropriate because the victims' attorney never recovered any money for them, and (4) the restitution award for surveillance and alarm system expenses was not authorized because defendant was not convicted of a violent felony.

Regarding defendant's contention that the prosecutor improperly delegated his role at the restitution hearing, we conclude defendant forfeited this claim because defendant did not object to the hearing process in the trial court. But the contention also lacks merit, because the prosecutor was present throughout the hearing, questioned the witness himself, and gave a closing argument.

Regarding defendant's challenges to specific restitution awards, we conclude those awards were authorized by law and supported by substantial evidence and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

We will affirm the restitution order.

BACKGROUND

Kevin Larscheid allegedly assaulted defendant in 1990, resulting in Larscheid's misdemeanor assault conviction. Defendant filed a civil lawsuit against Larscheid and the parties reached a settlement in 1991. But the conflict between the two did not end.

At defendant's sentencing hearing on October 23, 2009, Kevin Larscheid testified that defendant had waged a 20-year campaign of harassment against the Larscheid family. As a result, the family obtained a restraining order and installed a surveillance system at their home after multiple acts of vandalism. On March 3, 2009, shortly after the restraining order expired, the Larscheid home surveillance system captured defendant wearing a black trench coat and black gloves. Defendant had a hatchet and he placed six-inch spikes under the tires of a Larscheid vehicle.

Continuing his testimony at the sentencing hearing, Kevin Larscheid said defendant then crossed the street and chopped at the golf course green with his hatchet. Mr. Larscheid said defendant told a peace officer he had the right to harass Larscheid, and another peace officer had advised Larscheid to buy firearms, because defendant was "a ten" on a danger scale of one to ten. For this reason, the Larscheids installed the surveillance system and an alarm system, bought a firearm, and Barbara Larscheid sought weekly therapy due to her fear of defendant.

Barbara Larscheid testified at the sentencing hearing that she had pictures of defendant "keying" their vehicles. She also had "filthy, dirty cards and letters" defendant had written, and she was unable to get the image of him "sneaking around our house in a trench coat, out of my mind." She had seen defendant "crouching down" in the parking lot where she plays tennis and walk toward them when they were at dinner.

Deputy Garland Lew with the Placer County Sheriff's Department testified at the preliminary hearing. He said defendant's vehicle was located across the street in the golf course parking lot, but defendant was not with the vehicle. The golf course green was damaged, consistent with someone taking an ax to it. Defendant's vehicle contained a sheath that "appeared to ...


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