People v. Clifton

Decision Date04 October 1985
Docket NumberNo. B008282,B008282
Citation172 Cal.App.3d 1165,219 Cal.Rptr. 904
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Donald Leroy CLIFTON II, Defendant and Appellant.

Samuel Jackson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for defendant and appellant.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Robert R. Anderson and John R. Gorey, Supervising Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

STONE, Presiding Justice.

Donald Leroy Clifton II appeals from the judgment (order granting probation) entered after his negotiated plea of guilty to driving while under the influence of alcohol and causing bodily injury. (Veh.Code, § 23153, subd. (a).) He contends: "I. The restitution fines should be stricken for they exceed the court's statutory authority. II. Appellant may challenge his sentence without having obtained a § 1237.5 certificate."

On May 3, 1984, at approximately 11:50 p.m. appellant was driving his car on the wrong side of a two lane road, Route 34 in Ventura County, when his car struck an oncoming vehicle driven by 56-year-old Raymond Seeler. Appellant was driving under the influence of alcohol, with approximately a .13% blood alcohol level, and subsequently pled guilty to a violation of Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (a). In the felony disposition statement which was executed prior to the plea, and during the plea itself, appellant acknowledged that he would be ordered to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $10,000, pursuant to Government Code section 13967, and that he would pay a fine of not less than $390, pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23180.

Prior to appellant's sentencing hearing Mr. Seeler entered into a settlement with appellant's insurance carrier for $28,500, consisting of $3,500 for the loss of his vehicle and $25,000 for partial payment for other damages, which was the maximum coverage of appellant's insurance policy. Mr. Seeler did not have health insurance and continued to incur medical expenses related to the offense, at the time of the sentencing hearing on October 3, 1984. At that time Mr. Seeler's actual medical costs were over $17,000 and were expected to continue because further treatment was required.

The court granted appellant probation for five years on the condition, among others, that he spend 60 days in the county jail. The court also ordered appellant to pay restitution of $6,000 to the victim, payable at $100 per month to Mr. Seeler's account at the Ventura County General Hospital, to defray the cost of the on-going medical expenses. The court further imposed a fine of $390, plus penalty assessment, and ordered a restitution fine of $5,000, payable to the State Restitution Fund. The court stayed the restitution fine pending payment of restitution to the victim and successful completion of probation.

Contrary to appellant's contentions, the $6,000 ordered for restitution to the victim was statutorily authorized. Section 28, subdivision (b) of Article I of the California Constitution provides that "all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to restitution ... [which] shall be ordered from the convicted person in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss, unless compelling or extraordinary reasons exist to the contrary." In implementing this constitutional mandate, the Legislature enacted Penal Code section 1203.04 which requires a court, as a condition of a grant of probation, to order a defendant to pay restitution to a victim who has suffered losses as a result of the crime of which the defendant has been convicted. The statute defines restitution, in pertinent part, as "full or partial payment for ... medical expenses." It further provides that restitution "collected pursuant to this section shall be credited to any other judgments obtained by the victim against the defendant arising out of the crime for which the defendant was convicted." (Pen. Code, § 1203.04, subd. (d).)

The restitution order of $6,000 to defray the costs of the victim's hospital bills was properly structured to reimburse the victim for medical expenses incurred as a result of appellant's offense. The fact that the victim may have settled with appellant's insurance carrier prior to the sentencing hearing is irrelevant to the trial court's power to order restitution. Appellant's prior decision to purchase automobile insurance merely minimized appellant's further financial liability, had the victim successfully pursued a civil action for damages. Moreover, while restitution collected pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.04 is to be credited, by the terms of the statute, to any civil judgment obtained by the victim, the statute does not conversely authorize credit from a civil settlement to the amount payable pursuant to a restitution ...

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  • In re Alexander A.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • February 10, 2011
    ...the offender and deter further criminal activity. ( Vigilant Ins. Co., at p. 445, 96 Cal.Rptr.3d 54; People v. Clifton (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1165, 1168, 219 Cal.Rptr. 904 [just as a restitution order pursuant to criminal law is not a substitute for a civil action to recover damages, a civil......
  • Roberts v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • November 22, 2002
    ...supra; State v. Belfry, 416 N.W.2d 811 (Minn.App.1987); People v. Salas, 42 P.3d 68 (Colo.App.2001); but see People v. Clifton, 172 Cal.App.3d 1165, 219 Cal.Rptr. 904 (1985). Roberts argues that his $100,000 settlement payment to Ms. Danford's parents, which compromised the parents' wrongfu......
  • People v. Baumann
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • December 13, 1985
    ...8. Recent appellate court cases inferentially suggest the continued viability of Lent and Richards. (See eg. People v. Clifton, supra, 172 Cal.App.3d 1165, 219 Cal.Rptr. 904; People v. Hartley, supra, 163 Cal.App.3d 126, 209 Cal.Rptr. 131; People v. Walmsley, supra, 168 Cal.App.3d 636, 214 ......
  • Fore v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • March 21, 2003
    ...(1999)]; State v. Belfry, 416 N.W.2d 811 (Minn.App.1987); People v. Salas, 42 P.3d 68 (Colo.App. 2001); but see People v. Clifton, 172 Cal.App.3d 1165, 219 Cal.Rptr. 904 (1985)." ___ So.2d at In adopting the Wisconsin rationale, we note that the allocation of the burden of proof is consiste......
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