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In re RICHARD M., Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law - F039306, 2002 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 11121 (Dec. 2, 2002)

Rule:

Failure to object to the sentencing or dispositional court concerning the ability to pay a statutory restitution fine constitutes a waiver of the issue on appeal. 

Facts:

The juvenile court noted Richard's lengthy criminal record and the fact Richard had been in several different local programs. The juvenile court also ordered Richard to pay separate $100 restitution fines for each of three prior felony adjudications and two prior misdemeanor adjudications that had been stayed. The aggregate restitution fines for the prior adjudications totaled $500 plus another $100 for this action. On appeal, Richard contends the juvenile court erred in imposing restitution fines that had been stayed in prior proceedings and that the court failed to make any determination of Richard's ability to pay restitution fines.  Respondent concedes the court improperly imposed multiple $100 restitution fines for the misdemeanor adjudications. Respondent, however, argues Richard failed to object to the imposition of multiple restitution fines for the prior felony adjudications as well as to direct victim restitution fines. Without a timely objection, respondent contends Richard waived his right  to object to the direct victim restitution fines on appeal. 

Issue:

(a) Did the court err in the imposition of restitution fines for the misdemeanor adjudications? (b) Did Richard waive his right to object to the direct victim restitution fines?

Answer:

(a) Yes (b) Yes

Conclusion:

(a) Section 730.6, subdivision (b)(2), provides that where a "minor is found to be a person described in Section 602 by reason of the commission of one or more misdemeanor offenses, the restitution fine shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100)." It was error for the juvenile court to aggregate all of the $100 restitution  fines from prior dispositions and the instant action; (b)  Richard did not raise an objection concerning his ability to pay the three $100 restitution fines imposed in the prior felony adjudications. The respondent argues that unlike a sentencing or dispositional choice which lies outside a court's jurisdiction and is therefore not subject to waiver analysis, a decision involving the failure of a court to articulate its sentencing and dispositional choices is subject to waiver on appeal where the appellant has failed to lodge an objection to the sentencing or dispositional court. It is clear from the record that Richard failed to lodge an objection to the amount of either fine. Failure to object to the juvenile court's finding concerning the amount of direct victim restitution waives the issue on appeal. 

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