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Name: People v. Villalobos
Case #: F056729
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/28/2009
Subsequent History: review granted 12/2/09 (S176574)

Restitution fines did not violate the plea bargain where the fines were left to court’s discretion. Villalobos pleaded no contest to attempted murder and second degree robbery charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. At sentencing, the court imposed a $4000 restitution fine and a $4000 parole revocation fine. On appeal, he challenged the amount of the fines as a violation of his plea agreement, and requested they be reduced to the statutory minimum. He argued that because the fines were not mentioned as part of the plea bargain and because a Penal Code section 1192.5 admonition was not given, their imposition violated the agreement. The appellate court affirmed the imposition of the fines. Fines were not a subject of the parties’ plea bargaining in the case, and the plea agreement left the issue of fines to the court’s discretion. The court expressly asked Villalobos if he had been promised anything to enter his plea, and responded “no,” and he was also asked if he understood that he might be required to pay restitution, to which he responded affirmatively. Although there was no error in this case, the appellate court noted that courts should always admonish the defendant of the statutory minimum and maximum fines in order to avoid the “needless creation of appealable issues in this area.”