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Name: People v. Runyan
Case #: S187804
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/16/2012

Under Penal Code section 1202.4, where the defendant’s victim dies immediately and leaves no survivors to seek restitution on their own behalf, restitution to the victim’s estate is limited to pre-death losses resulting from the defendant’s criminal conduct. Appellant, driving intoxicated, killed another driver instantly in a freeway collision. The victim left no surviving family, dependents, or heirs. Appellant was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter, sentenced to prison, and ordered to pay restitution to the decedent’s estate for post-death diminution of value of property the decedent owned in life, funeral and burial expenses, and costs of estate administration. The restitution award was reversed. Interpreting section 1202.4 and Marsy’s Law, the Court found that the estate was not a “direct” victim and, therefore, was not entitled to restitution for its own expenses incurred as a result of the victim’s death. Although a decedent’s personal representative is authorized to receive, on the decedent’s behalf, restitution for economic losses the decedent personally incurred prior to death as an actual victim of the defendant’s crime, here there were no such losses.