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Name: People v. Taylor
Case #: C062413
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/19/2011

Under Penal Code section 1202.4, the trial court may award a crime victim restitution for a contingency attorney fee without determining whether it is reasonable under the lodestar method. Taylor was convicted of hit and run causing injury. At sentencing the trial court awarded restitution to the victim, including attorney fees. Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f) mandates restitution to a crime victim for all economic losses caused by the defendant. Citing People v. Millard (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 7, appellant claimed the trial court erred by not using the lodestar method to determine the reasonableness of the fees – i.e., multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by a reasonable hourly rate. The Third District disagreed with Millard’s application of the lodestar method to crime victim restitution, as it was intended as a fee shifting mechanism in civil litigation which was viewed as beneficial to the public. The purpose of victim restitution in the criminal context is to fully compensate the victim for all losses. A criminal wrongdoer takes his victim as he finds him. Although defendant may contest the reasonableness of attorneys fees awarded the victim, it is not an abuse of discretion to award contingent fees without first determining whether they are reasonable under the lodestar method.