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Name: People v. Aguilar
Case #: B269709
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/27/2016

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering defendant to pay $475 in restitution for graffiti abatement because that figure was based on more than city’s average per incident cost to abate graffiti. Aguilar pleaded no contest to one count of felony vandalism for graffiti. A graffiti abatement coordinator for the City of Los Angeles testified that $475 is the flat rate for private property graffiti removal and that this figure was based on a graffiti removal cost sheet. Aguilar was ordered to pay $475 in restitution to abate it. He appealed, arguing that the method used to arrive at the $475 figure was invalid under Luis M. v. Superior Court (2014) 59 Cal.4th 300. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 1202.4 requires the trial court to impose full victim restitution in cases where the victim has suffered an economic loss. A governmental entity that has to abate graffiti is a victim for purposes of section 1202.4. In Luis M., the Supreme Court held that the amount of restitution imposed could not be calculated based solely on the government’s average per incident cost to abate graffiti. However, the award in this case was not based solely on an average per incident cost. The graffiti abatement coordinator also testified that, based on his review of photographs of Aguilar’s graffiti, its size, extent, and the need for expedited removal due to its profane content and location, that a flat fee of $475 was a fair price for abatement. This testimony provided a factual nexus to Aguilar’s graffiti. The trial court did not violate Luis M. or otherwise abuse its discretion by ordering Aguilar to pay $475 in restitution.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: