Skip to content
Name: People v. Lowery
Case #: F076484
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/02/2020
Summary

Subsequent history: Check
The appellants were convicted of multiple second degree robberies and firearm enhancements were found true. For appellant Lowery, the court imposed a restitution fine of $6,900 (Pen. Code, § 1202.4, subd. (b)(1)); a court operations assessment of $200 (Pen. Code, § 1465.8, subd. (a)(1)); and a criminal conviction assessment of $150 (Gov. Code, § 70373, subd. (a)(1)). For appellant Green, the court imposed a restitution fine of $10,000; a court operations assessment of $200; and a criminal conviction assessment of $150. The court did not ascertain appellants’ ability to pay these fees, fines and assessments prior to imposing them. On appeal, appellants argued the trial court did not properly impose the fines, fees, and assessments, relying on Duenas.

Holdings/Reasoning:

  • Appellants forfeited the Dueñas-related claims. Unlike the defendant in Dueñas, appellants did not object to the fees, fines and assessments imposed against them. Appellants also did not request a hearing regarding their ability to pay. In contrast to Dueñas, the court imposed restitution fines above the minimum amount and appellants could have objected based on their ability to pay. The court disagreed with appellants’ assertions that Dueñas represents a newly announced rule of law, or that this issue raises a pure question of constitutional law that involves no factual dispute. The court reached the same conclusion with respect to the remaining assessments and fees.
  • Dueñas is distinguishable and it has no application in this case where appellants’ were not caught in an unfair cycle of debt, and they could have avoided the present convictions regardless of their financial circumstances.
  • Appellants’ due process rights were not violated.
  • The fees, fines and assessments were not grossly disproportionate under the Eighth Amendment.
  • Appellants’ rights to equal protection under the law were not violated.
  • Any presumed constitutional violation was harmless. The court considered prison wages and monetary gifts from family and friends during their lengthy prison sentences.