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Name: People v. Hurtado
Case #: D074351
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/29/2019

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding $3,000 in restitution because the evidence of the cost to repair damages from graffiti was sufficiently specific to justify the restitution order. Hurtado was convicted of felony vandalism following seven instances of graffiti in the City of San Diego. At a restitution hearing, the prosecution presented evidence that the City uses a contractor service to remove graffiti on public property and determined the cost of abating graffiti by using a cost per square foot, which was $3.39. The cost per square foot is based on a formula in which the projected budget for graffiti abatement in the current year is divided by the total square footage abated the previous year. The expenses included in calculating the budget consider employee salaries, employee benefits, materials, equipment, running the dispatch center, the contract, and other overhead, and takes into account the surface type and method of removal. The evidence also included a photograph of each incidence of graffiti, the square footage, the name of the person who completed the abatement, the date, and the time. Hurtado argued the City’s method for calculating restitution was “generalized and non-case-specific,” and thus, violated the requirements set forth in Luis M. v. Superior Court (2014) 59 Cal.4th 300. The court ordered Hurtado to pay restitution to the City in the amount of $3,000 (the People had requested $3,112.02). Hurtado appealed. In Luis M., a crime prevention officer used a five-year-old cost model to estimate the city’s annual graffiti abatement costs and multiplied the minor’s nine instances of graffiti by the city’s average outlay per graffiti incident. The California Supreme Court determined the restitution award was not based on sufficient evidence that the amount of claimed loss was a result of the minor’s conduct. Unlike the situation in Luis M., the evidence presented here was far more specific and the restitution award had some factual nexus to the damage caused by Hurtado.

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