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Name: People v. Berlin (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 757
Case #: A166452
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/26/2024
Summary

The trial court erred in ordering restitution after the end of the statutory maximum two-year period of mental health diversion because Penal Code section 1001.36(f)(1)(D), only permits the trial court to order restitution “during the period of diversion.” The trial court dismissed criminal charges against Berlin after she successfully completed mental health diversion, but ordered her to pay over $17,000 in restitution. Berlin appealed, arguing the trial court erred in issuing a restitution order after the end of the two-year period of diversion. Held: Restitution orders reversed. The Court of Appeal concluded the statutory language of section 1002.36 compelled reversal of the restitution orders. The statute unambiguously provides that, in the case of a felony, the period of diversion “shall be no longer than two years.” (§ 1001.36(f)(1)(C).) “And the statute in plain language only authorizes a court to ‘order . . . payment [of restitution] during the period of diversion.’” (§ 1001.36(f)(1)(D).) The provision of the California Constitution providing that “[r]estitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case” did not apply here because a person who successfully completes mental health diversion is not “convicted wrongdoer.”