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Name: H.B. v. Superior Court (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 341
Case #: A168069
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/17/2023

Penal Code section 1202.4(p) authorized victim restitution for proceeds from acts of prostitution the defendant forced the victim to perform. After defendant pleaded no contest to human trafficking (Pen. Code, § 236.1(a)) and pimping (Pen. Code, § 266h(a)), the victim (H.B.) requested restitution that included $340,500 for money she received and had been taken from her for acts of prostitution defendant forced her to commit, as well as interest accrued. The trial court denied restitution as to the prostitution earnings on the ground that section 1202.4(p) does not expressly authorize restitution for a victim’s labor where that labor is itself proscribed by law. H.B filed a petition for writ of mandate, arguing that subdivision (p) requires restitution for the illegal labor defendant forced her to perform. Held: Petition granted. The applicable statute, section 1202.4(p), provides “upon conviction for a violation of section 236.1,” the court shall order restitution to the victim if the victim suffered economic loss as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Section 1202.4(p) further provides that restitution can be calculated based on “the actual income derived by the defendant from the victim’s labor or services.” Because defendant took all of the money H.B. earned from the acts of prostitution defendant forced her to undertake, she “suffered economic loss as a result of the defendant’s conduct.” Accordingly, the plain meaning of the statute strongly suggests that the trial court had a duty to require that defendant pay restitution to H.B. for that loss. The statute’s legislative history and public policy also support this interpretation. [Editor’s Note: (1) The court stated “in holding that restitution is required for forced prostitution under the circumstances present here, we do not reach the question of whether the value of any other illegal activity constituting labor or services is similarly recoverable.” (2) Hall did not dispute H.B.’s contention that her claim, if meritorious, qualified for extraordinary relief.]