IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Sacramento)
July 27, 2011
IN RE J. G., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
J.G., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.
(Super. Ct. No. JV130306)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.
In re J.G. 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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
On December 8, 2009, J.G., a minor, admitted a charge of battery with serious bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (d)) on Vijay Singh. Without adjudging the minor a ward of the court, the court placed him on six months' probation (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 725, subd. (a))*fn1 and ordered him to pay restitution in an amount to be determined (§ 730.6, subd. (h)).
Following a restitution hearing, the court ordered the minor to pay, inter alia, full medical expenses incurred by Singh as a result of the minor's assault on him, including expenses for injuries to Singh's right hand and for sunglasses obtained by Singh.
On appeal, the minor contends the restitution order must be modified because (1) the evidence is insufficient to establish that he was the cause of injury to Singh's hand, and (2) the court abused its discretion by ordering him to pay $178 for Singh's sunglasses when a $30 pair would suffice. We shall affirm the orders.
Facts Regarding Restitution
In 2009, Vijay Singh owned the Dillard Store in Wilton. At some point prior to June 9, 2009, Singh had refused to permit the minor to come into the store because the latter had been caught stealing. In response, the minor drove by the store and yelled, "Fuck you, you Hindus!"
On June 9, the minor's younger brother was in the store and Singh asked him to have the minor come by and talk to him. That evening the minor came to Singh's store and Singh confronted him outside the store. The minor asked Singh what he wanted and threatened to beat up Singh. Singh asked why the minor was angry and the minor replied, "because you don't let me in your store." Singh told the minor to leave. The minor denied having stolen anything and struck Singh in the face, knocking him down. Singh was certain the minor was wearing brass knuckles when he was struck.
According to the police report prepared by an investigating officer, J.S. and M.N., each of whom knew Singh and the minor, told the officer that they were driving by the Dillard store and saw the minor strike Singh in front of the store. J.S. and M.N. got out of their car to make sure nothing further happened. M.N. said that after the minor struck Singh, the minor came running out of the store yelling "Punjabis" and "you Arabs, go back home." The minor "tried to go back into the store" but M.N. "held him back." J.S. said he knew the minor "has brass knuckles," but he did not see them when the minor struck Singh.
At the restitution hearing, the following colloquy occurred between Singh and counsel for the minor:
"Q. That was your right hand that was broken?
Q. Now, on the day that this happened, would it be correct to say that the minor hit you once and you fell to the ground . . . ?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And then you got up, and while [the minor] was being restrained by someone else you proceeded to hit him three or four times in the head?
A. I did.
Q. Do you know when you broke your hand?
A. No, I don't.
Q. So you can't say whether it was from falling or from you hitting [the minor] in the head?
A. That could be right."
Trial Court's Ruling
Relying on this court's decision in In re A.M. (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 668, which held that restitution was appropriate where the minor's illegal driving was a "substantial factor" in the accidental killing of a pedestrian (at pp. 672-674), the juvenile court ruled as follows: "While it is not clear how, exactly, the victim broke his hand, the minor should not benefit from that uncertainty when it was his criminal conduct--the provocation and attack of the victim--which set in motion the entire fight. The evidence supports the conclusion that the minor was a 'substantial factor' in bringing about all of the victim's injuries and thus, under the general principles set forth in a recent Third District Court of Appeal opinion (referring to In re A.M., supra), he should pay the full amount of restitution, without any reduction or apportionment in the amount owed."
The minor contends the trial court erred when it ordered him to pay restitution for Singh's broken hand because there was insufficient proof that he caused that injury. The minor argues as follows: Singh's hand was broken either by his fall after being struck by the minor, in which case the minor was the cause of the injury, or when Singh struck the minor when the minor was being restrained by M.N., in which case Singh's striking the minor was unlawful and the minor was not the cause of Singh's hand injury. Since the juvenile court could not determine under which scenario Singh's hand was broken, the evidence is insufficient to show that he, the minor, was the cause of Singh's hand injury.*fn2 On the record before us, we are not persuaded by the minor's argument.*fn3
The evidence is undisputed. The minor came to Singh's store and Singh confronted him outside the store. The two argued and Singh asked the minor to leave. The minor struck Singh, knocking him down. The minor initially started away from the scene, but turned back toward Singh. At this point, M.N. "held him back." Singh then struck the minor three or four times in the head.
There is no evidence whatsoever that the minor stopped fighting or that he conveyed, or attempted to convey, such to Singh. Indeed, the minor had started back toward Singh when M.N. held the minor back. There is no evidence regarding the degree of restraint M.N. had on the minor; namely, was the minor continuing to try to get at Singh or was M.N. capable of restraining the minor to the point the minor was clearly no longer a danger to Singh. Under the circumstances, even if Singh's broken hand was caused when he struck the minor, substantial evidence supports the trial court's finding that the minor was a cause of the injury, and thus the restitution order was appropriate.
The minor contends the court abused its discretion in ordering him to pay $178 for sunglasses for Singh which, according to the minor, is "an outrageously high price" when an "adequate pair of sunglasses" could have been purchased for $30. Again we disagree.
In determining the amount of restitution, "the court may use any rational method of fixing the amount of restitution, provided it is reasonably calculated to make the victim whole, and provided it is consistent with the purpose of rehabilitation." (In re Brittany L. (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1381, 1391-1392, fn. omitted.)
Singh testified that because of the minor's hitting him in the left eye, the eye was black and swollen and he could not properly see out of it. He got the glasses not only to protect the eye but also to hide it from public view. Being a businessman, Singh wanted to conceal the eye from the public because he had to go to the bank and to pick up merchandise for his store. The minor does not quarrel with Singh's need for sunglasses to conceal his injured eye. His complaint is that $30, rather than $178, was adequate for such a purpose. However, the minor never offered to show a pair of $30 sunglasses that would satisfy Singh's needs. This was simply the minor's unsupported conclusion. Indeed, as the cost of sunglasses goes, the minor has failed to demonstrate that $178 is an "outrageous" amount of money for a businessman to spend in an effort to conceal from the public injuries he had received while defending himself in a street fight.
The restitutional orders of the juvenile court are affirmed.
ROBIE , J.
MAURO , J.