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People v. Martinez

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

June 6, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
DENNIS TERRY MARTINEZ, Defendant and Appellant.

[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

Appeal from the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, No. FMB1200197, Daniel W. Detienne, Judge.

Page 1157

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1158

COUNSEL

Thomas E. Robertson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Melissa Mandel, and Meredith S. White, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

CODRINGTON, J.

Defendant Dennis Terry Martinez pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident (count 1; Veh. Code, § 20001, subd. (a))[1] and admitted the offense constituted a violation of his probation. In return for his plea, the People agreed to the low term of two years’ incarceration on count 1 and a concurrent midterm of two years on his violation of probation. The sentencing court later indicated it would not permit the plea to the agreed upon term. The court offered to allow defendant to withdraw his plea and set the matter for a preliminary hearing or proceed with the plea with the understanding the court would sentence defendant to the midterm of three years’ imprisonment with a concurrent three-year term for the violation of probation. Defense counsel indicated defendant’s acquiescence to the court’s proposed disposition.[2]

The court sentenced defendant to the three-year term, but reserved jurisdiction on the issue of victim restitution. After a contested restitution hearing, the court ordered victim restitution in the amount of $425, 654.63. On appeal, defendant contends the court abused its discretion in awarding victim restitution for the injuries sustained by the victim because defendant did not plead to any criminal offense regarding the collision which caused those injuries and no factual determination was made that he was responsible for the accident. We reverse the restitution award. The matter is remanded to allow the People to file a motion, in their discretion, for restitution in which they will bear the burden of proving an amount, if any, which reflects the degree to which the victim’s injuries were exacerbated, if at all, by defendant’s flight. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.

Page 1159

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[3]

On April 26, 2012, at approximately 6:30 p.m., defendant, driving his vehicle, and the 12-year-old victim, riding on a scooter, collided in the street. Defendant stopped his vehicle and checked on the victim. The victim’s mother came screaming over to her son. Defendant fled when he discovered the victim’s injuries might be life threatening. Defendant was on probation and driving without a license.

The victim was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC). He sustained multiple broken facial bones and a serious head injury resulting in brain swelling.

Within 24 hours of investigation, officers discovered defendant’s identity. Defendant voluntarily came forward thereafter. He admitted knowing that leaving the scene of the accident was a criminal offense. Defendant admitted ingesting medical grade marijuana at 8:00 a.m. the day of the accident, but sad he no longer felt the effects by 11:00 a.m. Defendant maintained the collision was an accident.

After defendant’s plea, a probation report prepared for sentencing recommended defendant be sentenced to the upper term of four years, conflicting with the disposition agreed upon in the plea agreement. Defendant’s felony probation had been previously revoked once.

The probation officer noted the victim had been released from LLUMC’s ICU after two weeks. The victim was transferred to the children’s rehabilitation center in Orange County where he had since remained. The victim had no short-term memory and was unable to walk without assistance. The victim was relearning to walk and talk. It was anticipated the victim would undergo 12 weeks of intensive neurological therapy. Defendant was uninsured at the time of the collision. The bill ...


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