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California: Restitution Fine Unlawful for Accessory to Murder

California: Restitution Fine Unlawful for Accessory to Murder

The California Court of Appeal (1st District) reversed a trial court’s imposition of a $12,083 restitution fine in an accessory-to-murder conviction because the criminal act – accessory after the fact – did not cause economic loss to the victim.

Kendricks Woods disposed of a gun that used was in a 2006 murder in Richmond, California, and was subsequently convicted of being an accessory after the fact. He was fined over $12,000, the sum paid by the Victim Compensation Fund to the family of the murder victim, even though he did not commit the murder.

On appeal, Woods claimed that such fines, by operation of Penal Code § 1202.4 and Cal. Const., Art. I, § 28, only attached to the perpetrator who actually caused injury to the victim. Since his post-murder actions caused no such injury, he argued the fine was illegal. The appellate court agreed and reversed the lower court’s imposition of the fine. See: People v. Woods, 161 Cal. App. 4th 1045 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2008).

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Related legal case

People v. Woods