People v. S.E. (In re S.E.)

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Citation260 Cal.Rptr.3d 181,46 Cal.App.5th 795
Decision Date18 March 2020
Docket NumberF078904
Parties IN RE S.E., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. S.E., Defendant and Appellant.

46 Cal.App.5th 795
260 Cal.Rptr.3d 181

IN RE S.E., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.

The People, Plaintiff and Respondent,
S.E., Defendant and Appellant.


Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.

Filed March 18, 2020

Arthur L. Bowie, Sacramento, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Julie A. Hokans and Robert Gezi, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


46 Cal.App.5th 799

S.E., then age 16, admitted making criminal threats in violation of Penal Code section 422. He was adjudged a ward of the court ( Welf. & Inst. Code,1 § 602, subd. (a) ) and placed on probation on various terms and conditions. After a restitution hearing, S.E. was ordered to pay victim

46 Cal.App.5th 800

restitution in the amount of $3,726 plus 10

260 Cal.Rptr.3d 184

percent interest per annum. S.E. now challenges this amount.2

An award of victim restitution requires causality between the minor's conduct (or adult defendant's crime) and the victim's loss. In this case, it appears the juvenile court applied the presumption of causality contained in Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(4)(A) to victim restitution ordered under section 730.6. To the extent it did so, it erred. Such a presumption does not appear in section 730.6, which governs restitution in juvenile matters. Nevertheless, we reject S.E.'s claim that his conduct was not shown to be a substantial factor in any injury to the so-called derivative victims. We also conclude the juvenile court properly imposed interest on the amount of restitution. Accordingly, we affirm.


On the evening of December 2, 2017, Fresno police officers were dispatched to the home of D.R. in response to a report S.E. was outside the residence and was threatening to shoot into the house if D.R. did not come out. Officers found S.E. hiding behind a vehicle. What was determined to be a plastic Airsoft handgun was found nearby.

D.R. told police that she and S.E. had been in a dating relationship for four years, and that he had been violent toward her in the past. They had plans to go to Christmas Tree Lane that evening, but they got into an argument earlier in the day and D.R. decided to cancel their plans. S.E. became very upset and began texting D.R. repeatedly, asking her to meet with him so they could talk. She told him that she did not want to see him and for him not to come to her house. When he texted her to say he was outside and she had better come out and talk to him, she told him to go away. He continued to demand that she come outside, and texted that for every minute he waited, he was going to cut off another one of her mother's fingers when he came inside. He then sent D.R. a picture of what she believed to be a handgun and texted that if D.R. did not come out of the house, he was going to shoot inside of the residence. He said that if she came to the window, she would see that he was pointing a gun at her window. D.R. believed he was going to shoot inside the house and possibly hurt or kill her or her mother.

46 Cal.App.5th 801

S.E. told officers that he had been dating D.R. for four and a half years. He said he had seven different types of anger problems. He said D.R. knew he had the BB gun with him, and she believed it was a real gun. He said he carried it with him in case he needed to scare anyone who might try to harm him while he was on a city bus. S.E. admitted having had suicidal/homicidal thoughts before, and said he had the means to get a real gun if he was actually going to kill D.R. and then himself. He said he felt provoked on the night of the incident because D.R. told him by text that she did not believe he would come to her house and that he was just a " ‘bitch.’ " He felt he needed to prove he was not a " ‘bitch,’ " and that was the

260 Cal.Rptr.3d 185

reason he brought the BB gun and sent her a picture of it. He did not actually intend to hurt her, but only to scare her.

On November 8, 2018, the California Victim Compensation Board (the board) submitted a request to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office for restitution in the amount of $1,701 for mental health benefits paid to D.R.; $1,377 for mental health benefits paid to I.L. (D.R.'s mother); and $648 for mental health benefits for F.L. (apparently, D.R.'s younger brother), for a total of $3,726. The board further requested that payment of restitution be made a condition of probation, and advised that the court was statutorily required to impose 10 percent interest per annum on the restitution amount pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(G).

Through counsel, S.E. asked the court to reduce or stay the proposed restitution order as to I.L. and F.L.4 In pertinent part, he argued that although the People could provide evidence of services rendered to those two claimants, the People could not provide evidence showing S.E.'s conduct was a substantial factor in causing those claimants' injuries, as required for restitution. The People responded that, pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(4)(A), evidence of payment by the restitution fund created a rebuttable presumption that the victims' losses were directly related to the defendant's criminal conduct. The People further argued that interest should accrue at 10 percent per annum pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(G), and that the county should be permitted to impose an administrative fee not to exceed 15 percent of the restitution owed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.1, subdivision (l ).

At the hearing, the court stated it had reviewed the provisions of Penal Code section 1202.4, as well as the original certified documents contemplated by that statute as creating a rebuttable presumption that the amounts paid were

46 Cal.App.5th 802

the correct amount of restitution.5 Defense counsel argued that language creating a rebuttable presumption was not included in section 730.6, the statute controlling restitution for juvenile proceedings; thus, while the certified documents likely proved the victim and her immediate family sought certain services that were rendered and paid for, they did not establish the requisite causal connection. The People observed that section 730.6 included the immediate family of the victim in the definition of "victim" for restitution purposes. Defense counsel responded that a family member might be a victim, but this did not mean the harm was caused by the minor. Counsel argued that D.R.'s mother and younger brother might have needed counseling before the incident with S.E., and that the People had not presented proof of causation otherwise. The People countered that before any payment was made, there had to be proof to the board that the services provided were directly related to the crimes; accordingly, the certified documents before the court were sufficient proof of a substantial factor.

After additional argument (most of which was focused on S.E.'s assertion that, aside from the causation issue, compelling or extraordinary reasons existed not to

260 Cal.Rptr.3d 186

order the full restitution amount), the court stated, in pertinent part:

"Okay. You know, I've already given you an overview of — my view on this is that restitution to victims is usually important. In fact it's in our Constitution, our state Constitution. It is the right and just thing to do, um, to have victims made whole for harm done by persons who have acted in a criminal way. I'm not at all taking away from that when I discussed that earlier. It is true.

"My questions and my research are focused on whether we should differentiate juvenile — juveniles when we have a reimbursement. The victims have been made whole. And now the State is coming back and wanting the money back, which is authorized under the law, money paid back to the restitution fund. And so that that money will be there for other victims, presumably. Certainly I would hope that that would be the case.

"The way the State wastes money on all sorts of things today, my gosh, you know — it's a hard thing. But I get the goal. I get the statutes. The law is really strict. I didn't find — I looked. Okay. I looked. And your attorney is really good. He looked too. I didn't find, um, specific case law that would have allowed me to simply differentiate, just on their face, minors to adults. I don't find that to be — any argument in that regard to be persuasive. [¶] ... [¶]
46 Cal.App.5th 803
"What I'm going to do now is I'm going to grant the request. And I'm going to order that — I'm going to find that the People have met their burden. There has not been any sufficient rebuttal in this regard. The certified documents provide the amounts have been paid. Full amount of restitution being $3726. That is going to be the restitution that's ordered to be made to

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