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Name: People v. Valenzuela
Case #: H038658
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/03/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 1/15/2014: S214485

The failure to object to a Penal Code section 1202.5 crime prevention fine forfeits any challenge to the fine on appeal. Appellant pled guilty to robbery and other offenses and admitted the use of a gun. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison and over $10,000 in fines and fees. On appeal he challenged the court’s imposition of a $10 theft fine plus penalties and assessments, based on insufficient evidence of ability to pay. Held: Affirmed. Although parts of the decision in People v. McCullough (2013) 56 Cal.4th 589 reflect the court intended a narrow holding, the logic therein applies to the fine here—where the Legislature views the financial burden of the fine to be de minimis and has identified no procedure or safeguards for its imposition, the rationale for forfeiture is strong. The factual nature of an ability to pay finding favors resolution of that matter in the trial court. Here, the amount of the fine, $10 plus $28 in penalty assessments, was sufficiently de minimus to apply McCullough’s reasoning. The issue was not raised in the trial court and was thus forfeited. The court also held that, in light of the small amount of the fine and the potential for prison wages, counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to the crime prevention fine.