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Name: People v. Taylor
Case #: E069293
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/13/2019
Summary

Taylor was convicted of multiple felonies and he was sentenced to prison for an aggregate indeterminate term of 165 years to life. The court imposed a $10,000 restitution fine and $840 in court operations and facilities fees. (Pen. Code §§ 1202.4, sub. (b), 1465.8, subd. (a)(1); Gov. Code § 70373, subd. (a)(1).) On appeal, Taylor argued he was entitled to an ability to pay hearing, relying on Duenas.

Holdings/Reasoning:

  • Taylor forfeited the Duenas argument as to the $10,000 restitution fine (Agreeing with People v. Frandsen (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 1126 on this point.)
  • However, Taylor’s failure to object to the maximum restitution fine did not forfeit his Dueñas claim with respect to the court operations and facilities fees. (Disagreeing with People v. Frandsen (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 1126; People v. Aviles (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 1055, 1074; People v. Gutierrez (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 1027, 1033; People v. Jenkins (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 30, 40–41, review granted Nov. 26, 2019, S258729.) Taylor may not have objected to the maximum restitution fine for reasons unrelated to his inability to pay. A defendant’s inability to pay is just one among many factors a court considers in setting the restitution fine above the minimum.
  • The trial court’s failure to determine Taylor’s ability to pay the $840 in fees was error under Dueñas and was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt based on the record in this case, even taking into consideration prison wages. Taylor was 70 years old at the time of sentencing and there was no information about his health, income-earning capacity, savings, or assets in the record. Additionally, the trial court declined to impose $750 in appointed counsel fees for lack of ability to pay and $665 in presentence investigation costs.
  • Taylor “need not present evidence of potential adverse consequences beyond the fee or assessment itself, as the imposition of a fine on a defendant unable to pay it is sufficient detriment to trigger due process protections.” (Quoting People v. Castellano (2019) 33 Cal.App.5th 485.)
  • Remanded for an ability to pay hearing, where Taylor will have the burden to show his inability to pay.