Although trial court properly awarded restitution based on fair market value of damaged truck, it abused its discretion by also awarding the cost to repair and the salvage value of the truck. Following his robbery conviction, defendant was ordered to pay restitution for damage caused to the victim’s truck. On appeal, defendant challenged the amount of the restitution order. Held: Judgement modified. Restitution is intended to compensate the victim for actual loss and is not intended to provide the victim with a windfall. Under Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(3)(A), a court may determine restitution for damaged property using the fair market value method or the cost of repair method. Under the fair market value method, restitution is the replacement cost of like property. Where, as here, the victim retains and repairs a salvaged vehicle, the fair market value method may be preferable because the cost of repair alone does not fully compensate the victim. Using the fair market value method, the trial court properly awarded the victim the decrease in fair market value. However, it also awarded the cost of repairing the truck. This was error. Having fully recovered the decrease in fair market value, the victim was not entitled to also recover the cost of repair, as the repair makes the damaged property more valuable and improperly alters the fair market value formula. “[T]he fair market value method and the cost of repair method of determining restitution must be kept separate.” The trial court also erred in awarding the salvage value of the truck as part of the fair market value, resulting in a windfall to the victim. Because the victim kept the truck, he should receive only the difference between the value of the truck before and after the crimes.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C076938.PDF