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Name: People v. Akins
Case #: A107616
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/04/2005

A trial court has discretion to reduce a victim restitution award if the court believes that the method used to calculate the amount was incorrect. Pursuant to a negotiated plea, the defendant pled no contest to one count of welfare fraud, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,789. The People appealed, arguing that the award should have been $10,158 based on the plea agreement and the calculation by the Department of Social Services. A few days before the plea was entered, the method of calculation used by the Department was disapproved in People v. Hudson (2003) 113 Cal.App.4th 924, but the parties did not note that decision until sentencing. Over a prosecution objection, the court adopted the Hudson method of calculating overpayments, and ordered restitution accordingly. On appeal, the People argued that the plea agreement prevented the court from altering the restitution amount. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, noting that because the restitution amount was apparently included in a written plea form that the People had not moved to augment into the record on appeal, the issue was waived. The court further held that the $369 difference in the restitution amount did not have a significant effect on the terms of the plea agreement, and thus under People v. Walker (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1013 it was appropriate to reduce the award to the legally sanctioned amount. Finally, the People could not challenge the actual calculations on appeal because the record did not contain the worksheets used to make those calculations, and the failure to complete the record waived the issue.