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People v. Ford

California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division

July 17, 2013

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
WILLIAM J. FORD, Defendant and Appellant.

Superior Court of the County No. SCR-530837 of Sonoma, Honorable Bradford DeMeo

Counsel for Appellant: William J. Ford Jane Gaskell ADRIAN & GALLENSON

Counsel for Respondent: Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General Gerald A. Engler, Senior Assistant Attorney General Seth K. Schalit, Supervising Deputy Attorney General Catherine Mcbrien, Deputy Attorney General

Siggins, J.

William Ford appeals from an order awarding victim restitution. He contends the court lost jurisdiction to award restitution when his probation term expired nine days earlier. We disagree. The court’s retention of jurisdiction to determine and award victim restitution was permissible under Penal Code sections 1202.4 and 1202.46[1] irrespective of the expiration of Mr. Ford’s probation.

We therefore affirm.

BACKGROUND

Ford severely injured Elaine Jennings in a hit and run accident in 2008. Following his no contest plea to leaving the scene of an accident, he was placed on three years’ probation and ordered to pay $12, 465.88 in restitution for Jennings’s medical expenses. Ford’s probation officer advised the court that Jennings also sought over $36, 000 restitution for lost wages. Ford’s counsel expressed his intent to request a hearing on the amount of restitution. The court expressly reserved jurisdiction to determine the amount of additional restitution.

On May 7, 2010, the probation department notified Ford that he owed Jennings $211, 000 in victim restitution.[2] Ford requested a hearing. The hearing was initially set for August 3, but there followed a series of delays and continuances during which Ford’s probation was extended several times. The restitution hearing was finally held on January 27, March 1, and April 6, 2012. On April 6, defense counsel made a limited appearance to contest jurisdiction because Ford’s probation term had expired on March 30. The People asserted the court retained jurisdiction over restitution under section 1202.46 “unless and until the amount of restitution owing the victim can be determined.” Following additional briefing on the jurisdictional issue, the court ruled it had jurisdiction to award restitution under section 1202.4. “This was not just a condition of probation, it was a restitution order, the Court reserving jurisdiction to determine the amount.” Ford was ordered to pay Jennings restitution in the amount of $275, 017.

This timely appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

Ford contends the restitution award was a condition of his probation, and therefore that the court had no jurisdiction to alter it once his probation term expired. His contention is without merit.

We had occasion to address a closely related issue in People v. Bufford (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 966, in which we held the trial court retained jurisdiction to adjudicate restitution following a defendant’s completion of her prison sentence. We explained why California’s restitution scheme, embodied in our Constitution and statutes, mandates this result:

“Article I, section 28 was added to the California Constitution by initiative measure adopted by the voters June 8, 1982. Subdivision (b) provides, in part, ‘that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to restitution’ and that ‘[r]estitution shall be ordered from the convicted persons in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss, unless compelling and extraordinary reasons exist to the contrary. The Legislature shall adopt provisions to implement this section during the calendar year following adoption of this section.’ [¶] Implementing legislation was added to Penal Code section 1202.4 that now provides, in relevant part that ‘the court shall require that the defendant make restitution to the victim or victims in an amount established by court order, based on the amount of loss claimed by the victim or victims or any other showing to the court. If the amount of loss cannot be ascertained at the time of sentencing, the restitution order shall ...


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