Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Attorneys of America
Super Lawyers
Superior DUI Attorney 2017
10 Best Law Firms
Top One Percent 2017
The National Trial Lawyers
Best of Thervo 2017
10 Best Law Firms
Criminal Defense Attorneys

Restitution: Moving Expenses & Verification by Police?

Defendant Terry Christopher Baudoin was a good friend of L.W.’s husband.  One day, L.W. came to her husband’s workplace and started an argument with him.  Mr. Baudoin was present and overheard the argument.

After the argument, L.W. went home.  After she was there, she heard the doorbell ring and answered the front door.  Tiana Baudoin, Mr. Baudoin’s sister, rushed in and began beating L.W. about her face and head, causing L.W. to fall to the floor.  Mr. Baudoin then came into the house and told Tiana to let L.W. stand up, but Tiana continued punching her.  Mr. Baudoin then joined in and “sucker punched” L.W. in the face.  She then fell on her back and lost consciousness.

As a result of the beating, L.W. was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she remained for the next 24 hours.  She suffered two factures to both eye sockets and required approximately 14 stitches under one of her eyes.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Baudoin with felony batter with serious bodily injury (Penal Code § 243(d)), assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (Penal Code § 245(a)(4)), and first degree burglary (Penal Code § 459).

Mr. Baudoin resolved the case via plea bargain wherein he pleaded nolo contendere to battery with serious bodily injury and admitting inflicting great bodily injury on LW.  He also admitted a probation violation on a prior case.

Ms. Baudoin also resolved the case filed against her, but for assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, a violation of Penal Code § 245(a)(4).

The judge sentenced Mr. Baudoin to the upper term of four years in state prison to be served concurrently with the term for violating probation.

The court later held a restitution hearing pursuant to Penal Code § 1202.4(f)(1).  L.W. testified that she incurred an ambulance and emergency room bill of $1,642, which was unpaid.  She then did not return to her home because Mr. Baudoin and his sister knew where she lived and she was afraid of them assaulting her again.  So, she stayed in motels and friend’s residences because she was not able to afford a more permanent residence.  She provided receipts totaling $8,055.56.

She then found an apartment for $1,800 in rent and shared it with a relative with each person paying $900 per month.
Defense counsel for Mr. Baudoin argued that the court could not award relocation expenses without a verification from law enforcement or a mental health provider that it was necessary for L.W.’s safety to relocate.  This was required under Penal Code § 1202.4(f)(3); see also People v. Mearns (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 493.

The prosecution argued that L.W.’s testimony alone was sufficient to award relocation expenses and no verification was necessary.

The judge agreed with the prosecution and awarded L.W. $12,442, making the award joint and several against both Mr. and Mrs. Baudoin, based on $1,642 in ambulance expenses for L.W., $9,000 in relocation expenses (L.W. testified she lost some receipts, so the judge estimated those to be worth $9,944.44), $900 for L.W.’s share of the first and last month’s rent on a new apartment and $900 for her share of the security deposit.

Mr. Baudoin then appealed the restitution order to the Second Appellate District Court in Los Angeles, which reversed the restitution award and agreed with Mr. Baudoin that the award of relocation expenses was improper without a verification by law enforcement under Penal Code § 1202.4(f)(3) and People v. Mearns, supra.  The Second Appellate District then remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with 1202.4(f)(3) and Mearns.

It merits mention in this article that the victim is referred to by her initials only, as required by California Rules of Court, rule 8.90(b)(4).

We present this summary of the Second Appellate District Court ruling because restitution is an often misunderstood and abused area by victims seeking a windfall based on a suspect’s conviction.  In this case, there is no doubt that the trial court wanted to make L.W. whole and applied the general principal, even stated in Mearns, that “A victim’s restitution right is to be broadly and liberally construed,” (Mearns, supra, 97 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 500 – 501), except the judge was a bit too liberal.  There are limits to restitution and the Second Appellate District Court so reminded the trial court judge.

For more information about expenses recoverable in restitution, please click on the following articles:
Client Reviews
"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
"Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him." S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
"Thanks again for your hard work. We want you to know that we are very appreciative of all that you have done [on our son's] behalf. With warmest regards." L.H., Torrance
"Dear Greg, Thank you again for all your help. Your professionalism and thoroughness is greatly admired. I will definitely recommend you to my friends if they ever need legal help." V.L., Carson
"Thanks for investing in my case. I talked to other attorneys out there and they had an arms-length of attitude, but not you. Your intensity and interest helped a lot." C.R., Pomona