The Cal. Supremes affirmed this death penalty case today.
The Cal. Supremes will issue no new criminal cases today.
The Cal. Supremes will issue no new criminal cases today, Monday.
Restitution amount must be based on the amount of actual damage caused by a minor
When a minor’s actions involve graffiti, the Legislature has expanded the juvenile court’s general authority to grant restitution. It has enacted a tailored scheme permitting reliance on a city’s average costs to investigate and remediate graffiti. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 742.14 & 742.16.) The statutes contain specific guidelines for what costs may be included. They also require periodic review and adoption of a local ordinance. The City had not passed such an ordinance nor had it reviewed its “cost model” within the statutory timeframe. Thus, the expanded restitution model cannot support the award here. The court had more general restitution authority under section 730.6. As explained below, however, the court’s award was not based on sufficient evidence that the amount of claimed loss was a result of Luis’s conduct. The award also included police investigation costs not usually recoverable under the more general restitution statutes.
Here, the juvenile court based its estimate on an average of all costs of graffiti cleanup rather than a rational estimate of costs occasioned by Luis’s conduct. The People provided no evidence of the size or type of Luis’s graffiti. There was no evidence about the materials, equipment, and labor required to remove it. We cannot determine, for example, if the City painted over a small area or used more expensive equipment to restore the property’s surface. Luis objected to several components of the City’s cost model on the grounds that they lacked foundation, were not shown to apply to his conduct, and included nonrecoverable costs. The juvenile court overruled these objections, remarking that a cost model does not reflect the expenses involved in a particular case and that “we are not going to have mini trials within a trial.” The court abused its discretion. It conflated the showings required by the general restitution statute with the broader use of cost averaging under the Graffiti Program.
Tomorrow the Cal. Supremes will issue an opinion in the following case:
LUIS M. v. SUPERIOR COURT (PEOPLE)
S207314 (B238460; Los Angeles County Superior Court – MJ20593)
Argued in Los Angeles 4-03-14
This case presents the following issue: Could the restitution order in this case of felony vandalism for acts of graffiti be based on the victim city’s average cost of removing, cleaning, and repairing incidents of graffiti on an annual basis, or was proof of the actual costs of mitigating the graffiti at issue in this case required?
The Cal. Supremes will issue no new opinions today, Monday.