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Name: People v. Brooks
Case #: A147410
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/25/2018

Trial court had discretion to order victim restitution for the costs of improving a home security system where defendant was convicted of a nonviolent felony. Brooks was convicted of first degree burglary. The victims sought restitution to install a residential security system. At the restitution hearing, Brooks argued that Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(J) only permits restitution for security improvements against a defendant convicted of a violent felony. The trial court ordered restitution for the security system. Brooks appealed. Held: Affirmed. Subject to certain exceptions, section 1202.4, subdivision (f) requires the trial court to order full restitution to a crime victim for economic losses sustained as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Subdivision (f)(3)(J) specifically allows court-ordered restitution for security costs “related to a violent felony.” However, this establishes a minimum, as indicated by the language “including but not limited to,” and does not preclude such restitution for nonviolent felonies. Victim restitution rights derive from the California Constitution (art. I, § 28). Penal Code section 1202.4 is the legislative implementation of these rights and should not be construed to limit or vitiate a victim’s rights. A trial court may order restitution for the costs of installing or improving a security system as a result of a defendant’s conduct, regardless of the crime committed (disagreeing with People v. Salas (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 736 [Legislature intended that restitution for residential security systems be restricted to cases involving violent felonies]. [Editor’s Note: This issue is pending in the California Supreme Court in People v. Calavano (May 4, 2017, H042950) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 8/9/2017 (S242474) and People v. Henderson (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 467, review granted 5/23/2018 (S247716/C083153).]

Defendant’s challenge to the restitution order was not forfeited by failure to object at sentencing. The Attorney General argued that Brooks forfeited any appellate challenge to the restitution order by failing to object at the time of sentencing. An appellate argument that the restitution order constitutes legal error is not subject to forfeiture. However, to the extent Brooks argued the record contained no evidence the victims actually had to pay for installation of door locks, this requires resort to the record or remand for further findings, and is therefore subject to forfeiture. As there is no evidence that defense counsel raised this objection, this component of the issue was waived.

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