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Name: People v. Ford
Case #: S212940
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/28/2015

By agreeing to continue restitution hearing to a date after his probationary term expired, defendant impliedly consented to trial court’s continued exercise of jurisdiction. Ford, who severely injured a person in a hit-and-run accident, appealed from an order awarding victim restitution. He argued the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hold the restitution hearing after his probation term expired (Pen. Code, § 1203.3, subd. (b)(5) [restitution may be ordered at any time during the term of probation]). The prosecutor responded that Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f), mandates victim restitution unless the court cites extraordinary and compelling reasons for not ordering it. The Court of Appeal affirmed; the California Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. “A trial court lacks jurisdiction in a fundamental sense when it has no authority at all over the subject matter or the parties, or when it lacks any power to hear or determine the case.” When a trial court lacks fundamental jurisdiction, its orders are void. However, a court that has fundamental jurisdiction may fail to act in a prescribed manner, thereby acting in excess of jurisdiction. Rulings that are the result of an ordinary act in excess of jurisdiction are valid until set aside, and a party may be estopped from seeking to set aside such a ruling. Here, the expiration of Ford’s probation term did not terminate the trial court’s fundamental jurisdiction. Without deciding whether a trial court retains jurisdiction to modify restitution once a defendant’s probation has expired, the court concluded that Ford was estopped from challenging the order because he agreed to continue the restitution hearing to a date after his term of probation expired, thereby impliedly consenting to the court’s continued jurisdiction.