Law School Case Brief
People v. Carbajal - 10 Cal. 4th 1114, 43 Cal. Rptr. 2d 681, 899 P.2d 67 (1995)
In granting probation, courts have broad discretion to impose conditions to foster rehabilitation and to protect public safety pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 1203.1.
Defendant Jose Carbajal pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Cal. Veh. Code, § 20002, subd. (a) (commonly known as "hit-and-run"). Carbajal had been driving his car when he collided with an unoccupied, legally parked vehicle, and he drove away without leaving his name or other information required by law. The trial court granted Carbajal probation with certain conditions, but it denied the People's request to order as a condition of probation that Carbajal pay restitution to the person whose car was damaged in the accident. The trial court determined that it was not authorized to impose this probation condition. On the People's appeal, the appellate department of the superior court found that the trial court had discretion to order restitution as a condition of probation. The Court of Appeal, Second Dist., Div. Six, affirmed the judgment of the appellate department of the superior court.
When a defendant is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in violation of California "hit-and-run" law, may the trial court order restitution to the owner of the damaged property as a condition of probation, with the restitution condition being reasonably related to the offense and serving the purposes of rehabilitating the offender and deterring future criminality?
The Supreme Court of California that nothing in the state constitution or in the state penal code purported to limit or abrogate the trial court's discretion to order restitution as a condition of probation where the victim's loss was not the result of the crime underlying the defendant's conviction. The restitution condition had to be reasonably related either to the crime of which the defendant was convicted or to the goal of deterring future criminality. The court found that the restitution condition was reasonably related to both, including "hit-and-run." Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.
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