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Name: In re Brian N.
Case #: F044322
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/12/2004
Subsequent History: 7/12/04: rhg. den.; 9/29/04: revw. den.

A juvenile who started a fire by playing with fireworks was properly ordered to pay restitution to the fire department that battled the fire. After the minor was judged a ward of the court and placed on probation, the juvenile court ordered him to pay for the city fire department’s costs of fighting the fire. On appeal, he argued that this order was unauthorized because the firefighters were not a direct victim of the offense. The Court of Appeal disagreed, drawing an analogy to People v. Crow (1993) 6 Cal.4th 952, in which the California Supreme Court held that when someone steals from a government agency, the agency is a direct victim for purposes of restitution. The costs of fighting the fire amounted to an economic loss that was compensable under the victim restitution statute.