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Name: People v. Lockwood
Case #: C067377
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/05/2013
Summary

Where the Restitution Fund has provided assistance on behalf of the victim, with the amount established by bills submitted to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, appellant may be entitled to the relevant records of the Board if he offers evidence to rebut the presumption that such assistance is a direct result of his conduct. Appellant was convicted of corporal injury to a cohabitant following an incident where he physically assaulted his girlfriend. Prior to this incident, the victim’s husband had forced her to have sex with him and made threats against her and her family. The Restitution Fund paid funds on behalf of the victim for hospital expenses incurred by the victim in November, several months after the incident involving appellant. At a contested restitution hearing, appellant unsuccessfully sought records of the Board. Affirmed. Under the California Constitution a victim is entitled to restitution for loss incurred as a result of defendant’s criminal conduct. (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd. (f).) However, if the defendant disputes the claim, he is entitled to a hearing as to the amount of restitution. When state funds are used to provide assistance, the amount provided shall be presumed to be a direct result of defendant’s criminal conduct and the amount is established by bills submitted to the Board. If defendant offers evidence to rebut the presumption that the bills were incurred because of defendant’s conduct, the court can release information contained in the Board’s records after reviewing the information in camera and determining that it is necessary to enable defendant to dispute the amount of restitution. (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd, (f)(4)(A), (B), (C).) Here, appellant argued that the victim’s hospital stay in November was a result of her husband’s conduct and that he was entitled to discovery of the documents to contest the restitution claimed by the Fund for the expenses paid to the hospital. The court agreed, finding that because appellant had overcome the presumption that he was liable for the expenses, the trial court should have disclosed the records. However, the court found the error to be harmless. To overcome the presumption that the assistance given the victim was a direct result of defendant’s conduct, defendant had to prove that his criminal conduct played only an infinitesimal or theoretical part in bringing about the injury. After reviewing the records, the appellate court determined that it was reasonable to conclude that the treatment provided victim was for symptoms arising from appellant’s conduct.