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People v. Cruz

California Court of Appeals, Third District, San Joaquin

August 27, 2013

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
MICHAEL ANTHONY CRUZ, Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Joaquin County No. ST056863A, Franklin Stephenson, Judge.

Donn Ginoza, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Julie A. Hokans and J. Robert Jibson, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

NICHOLSON, J.

Defendant Michael Anthony Cruz entered a negotiated plea of no contest to driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level or higher and causing injury (Veh. Code, § 23153, subd. (b)). The trial court sentenced him to the agreed upon term of 16 months in state prison. On appeal, he contends the imposition of $2, 450 worth of fines must be reversed as having no statutory basis within the confines of the plea agreement.

The People initially agreed that remand was appropriate in this case because no statutory basis for the penal fine was specified in the plea agreement. However, during the pendency of this appeal, the California Supreme Court decided People v. Villalobos (2012) 54 Cal.4th 177 (Villalobos), which clarified the law relied upon by the parties in their briefs. We requested and received supplemental briefs from the parties regarding the effect of Villalobos on the issue presented. The People withdrew their concession that the fine should be reduced. We agree and affirm the judgment.

BACKGROUND

We dispense with a recitation of the facts underlying defendant’s offense, as they are irrelevant to the disposition of this appeal.

Defendant was charged with driving under the influence and causing injury in violation of Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (a) (count 1), driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level or higher and causing injury in violation of Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (b) (count 2), driving with a suspended or revoked license in violation of Vehicle Code section 14601.2, subdivision (a) (count 3), failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility in violation of Vehicle Code section 16028, subdivision (a) (count 4), and failure to stop in violation of Vehicle Code section 22450 (count 5). It was also alleged that defendant had personally inflicted great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 12022.7, subd. (a)) and caused bodily injury to multiple victims (Veh. Code, § 23558) in connection with counts 1 and 2.

On May 23, 2011, defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement wherein he agreed to plead no contest to count 2 in exchange for dismissal of the remaining allegations. It was further agreed that defendant would be sentenced to the low term of 16 months in prison. Neither the plea agreement, nor the trial court’s advisements prior to the plea, mentioned the imposition of any fines other than a general understanding that there would be a “restitution order.”

Preparation of a probation report was waived and defendant also waived his rights under Arbuckle.[1] Sentence was imposed by a judge other than the one who took defendant’s plea. The trial court imposed the agreed upon term of 16 months in prison and awarded defendant custody credits. It then imposed “a fine in the amount of $2, 744. That includes a $200 restitution fine, a $20 surcharge, a $40 court security fee, $30 administrative fee and $4 transportation fee. [¶] There’s a second $200 restitution fine that’ll be stayed on the condition you comply with the terms and conditions of your parole.” The court clerk supplied statutory references on the abstract of judgment for all of the fines and fees expressly specified by the trial court, with the exception of the “$4 transportation fee.”

DISCUSSION

I

As the parties recognize, the trial court identified the statutory basis for only $294 of the $2, 744 fine, leaving an unspecified amount of $2, 450. The parties also acknowledge that there is a mandatory minimum fine for defendant’s offense of $390, which was not identified by the trial court as included in the stated fine.[2] (Veh. Code, § 23560.) We presume the trial court was aware of and followed the applicable law. (People v. Martinez (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1511, 1517.) The logical ...


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