Supreme Court of California Justia
Citation 22 Cal.4th 300
People v. Tillman

People v. Tillman (2000) 22 Cal.4th 300 , 92 Cal.Rptr.2d 741; 992 P.2d 1109

[No. S077360. Feb 24, 2000.]

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ELDON DEE TILLMAN, Defendant and Appellant.

(Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. NBFN_131867, Arthur H. Jean, Jr., Judge.)

(The Court of Appeal, Second Dist., Div. Four, No. B119961.)

(Opinion by Brown, J., expressing the unanimous view of the court.)


Suzan E. Hier and Richard Lennon, under appointments by the Supreme Court, and Leonard J. Klaif, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren and Bill Lockyer, Attorneys General, George Williamson and David P. Druliner, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Carol Wendelin Pollack, Assistant Attorney General, Allison H. Ting, Chung L. Mar, Susan D. Martynec and Kenneth N. Sokoler, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent. [22 Cal.4th 301]



Two provisions of the Penal Code—sections 1202.4 and 1202.45 fn. 1 —require trial courts to impose a restitution fine as part of the judgment of conviction entered against a criminal defendant and, in cases [22 Cal.4th 302] where parole is granted, an additional fine in the same amount suspended unless parole is later revoked. The restitution fine under section 1202.4 is mandatory unless the sentencing court, in the words of the statute, "finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so, and states those reasons on the record." (§ 1202.4, subd. (b).) In cases in which the court imposes a restitution fine, imposition of a parole revocation fine is also mandatory. (§ 1202.45.)

[1] At times, sentencing courts have failed to discharge the duty imposed by these statutes, omitting the fines from judgments of conviction without making the required finding on the record. In several such cases, the People have sought to have the omission supplied while the case was on appeal, asking the Court of Appeal to amend the trial court's judgment to add the fines. The fate of these requests has not been uniform, with appellate courts variously granting and denying them. In some cases, the Court of Appeal has rejected the People's request on the ground the statutory obligation is one imposed on the trial court and is not the responsibility of the appellate court. In others, including the one before us here, the appellate court has taken the opposite tack. These courts reason that remanding the case to the trial court to add the fines is uneconomical, and hold the Courts of Appeal possess jurisdiction to amend the judgment by incorporating them. That is what the Court of Appeal did here, amending the judgment to add restitution fines of $200, the minimum permitted by the statutes. (See § 1202.4, subd. (b)(1).)

Neither of these differing views is without merit. However, recent precedents of this court lead us to conclude the waiver doctrine bars the People from obtaining the relief they seek on appeal. Our most recent opinion applying the waiver doctrine to a sentencing issue is People v. Scott (1994) 9 Cal.4th 331 [36 Cal.Rptr.2d 627, 885 P.2d 1040]. There, "[f]aced squarely with the issue for the first time," we held the doctrine "should apply to claims involving the trial court's failure to properly make or articulate its discretionary sentencing choices." (Id. at p. 353.) The opinion in Scott relied in turn on People v. Welch (1993) 5 Cal.4th 228 [19 Cal.Rptr.2d 520, 851 P.2d 802], another sentencing case. In Welch, we enforced "[t]raditional objection and waiver principles" against a defendant who sought for the first time on appeal to litigate the reasonableness of the conditions of probation imposed by the trial court. (Id. at p. 236.) We reasoned that waiver principles "encourage development of the record and a proper exercise of discretion in [22 Cal.4th 303] the trial court," as well as helping to "discourage ... invalid probation conditions and reduce the number of costly appeals brought on that basis." (Id. at pp. 236, 235; cf. People v. Walker (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1013 [1 Cal.Rptr.2d 902, 819 P.2d 861].)

Both Scott and Welch involved criminal defendants who sought correction of alleged sentencing errors on appeal after having failed to object in the trial court; here, of course, the party seeking to have the sentence modified on appeal is the People, acting through the Attorney General. We see no material difference in that circumstance, however. Animating the result in Scott was the following "practical and straightforward" reasoning: "Although the court is required to impose sentence in a lawful manner, counsel is charged with understanding, advocating, and clarifying permissible sentencing choices at the hearing. Routine defects in the court's statement of reasons are easily prevented and corrected if called to the court's attention. As in other waiver cases, we hope to reduce the number of errors committed in the first instance and preserve the judicial resources otherwise used to correct them." (People v. Scott, supra, 9 Cal.4th at p. 353, italics added.)

The same rationale applies in this case. The trial court here failed to state on the record its reasons for not imposing the restitution fines; the Scott trial court failed to state on the record its reasons for making a discretionary sentencing choice, a finding required by section 1170. In Scott, we held the defendant's objection to the trial court's omission had been waived by the failure to make it at the time of sentencing. Here, we conclude the People's failure to object leads to the same result.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed.

George, C. J., Mosk, J., Kennard, J., Baxter, J., Werdegar, J., and Chin, J., concurred.

­FN 1. Statutory citations are to the Penal Code. As pertinent here, subdivision (b) of section 1202.4 provides: "In every case where a person is convicted of a crime, the court shall impose a separate and additional restitution fine, unless it finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so, and states those reasons on the record." Section 1202.45 provides: "In every case where a person is convicted of a crime and whose sentence includes a period of parole, the court shall at the time of imposing the restitution fine pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1202.4, assess an additional restitution fine in the same amount as that imposed pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1202.4. This additional restitution fine shall be suspended unless the person's parole is revoked."

Concerns whether a Court of Appeal may decline to consider a claim the trial court failed to impose a mandatory fine when the People have not first sought correction in the trial court, which is related to an issue before the court in People v. Baltazar (S075450) and People v. Parker (S074831).

Opinion Information
Date:Citation:Docket Number:Category:Status:Cross Referenced Cases:
Thu, 02/24/200022 Cal.4th 300S077360Review - Criminal Appealclosed; remittitur issued

PEOPLE v. PARKER (S074831)
PEOPLE v. BOLDEN (S079196)
PEOPLE v. HARRIS (S080326)

1Tillman, Eldon Dee (Appellant)
Represented by Leonard J. Klaif
501 N. Fulton Street
501 N. Fulton Street
Ojai, CA

2Tillman, Eldon Dee (Appellant)
Represented by Richard B. Lennon
3The People (Respondent)
Represented by Attorney General - Los Angeles Office

Feb 24 2000Opinion: Reversed

Mar 17 1999Petition for review filed
App's Petn/Record requested.
Mar 19 1999Received:
CA Record - one Doghouse
Apr 21 1999Review Granted/briefing deferred (per Rule 29.3)
Held for People v. Baltazar (S075450) and People v. Parker (S074831). Votes: George C.J., Mosk, Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin & Brown JJ.
May 26 1999Briefing ordered in previously Held case
Appellant is directed to serve and file a brief on the merits on or before June 28, 1999. Additional briefing is to be served and filed in a timely fashion. (See CRC, Rule 29.3(a).)
May 26 1999Note:
Jun 1 1999Issues ordered limited
Pursuant to Rule 29.2(b) of the California Rules of Bourt, the parties are ordered to limit briefing and oral argument to the following question: did the Court of Appeal properly correct the trial court's failure to impose mandatory restitution fines even though the People had not first requested relief in the trial court.
Jun 14 1999Counsel appointment order filed
Calif Appellate Project for App Eldon Lee Tillman
Jul 13 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
To file Opening brief on the merits (asking 8-14) [Tct/Hm - Okay/Order Prepared]
Jul 21 1999Extension of time granted
App's Opening brief/merits to & Including 8/14/99. no further Extensions of time will be granted
Aug 16 1999Opening brief on the merits filed
Appelant [Tillman]
Sep 15 1999Answer brief on the merits filed
Respondent People
Oct 4 1999Application for Extension of Time filed
Reply Brf/merits to 10-24-99 Appellant Eldon Lee Tillman (Nat) Ok to grant to Oct. 18, 1999 Only.
Oct 13 1999Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Appellant Eldon Dee Tillman
Oct 14 1999Extension of Time application Granted
To & Including Oct. 18, 1999 for Appellant To file the reply brief on the merits
Nov 10 1999Case Ordered on Calendar:
12-9-99, 9am, L.A.
Dec 9 1999Cause Called and Argued (not yet submitted)
Dec 9 1999Submitted by order
Feb 24 2000Opinion filed: Judgment reversed
Majority Opinion by Brown, J. -- joined by George C.J., Mosk, Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar & Chin JJ.
Mar 6 2000Time extended to consider modification or rehearing
The finality of the opinion in the above entitled matter is hereby extended to and including 4/24/00
Apr 25 2000Remittitur Issued
Certified copies sent to Dca2/4. 5/24/00: received Receipt for Remittitur from Ca2/4, Signed for by Jim Guzman, Deputy Clerk.
May 24 2000Received:
In the L.A. Shipment, Both Original Remittiturs, which were mailed to Ca2/4; Originals now appear to have been Folded Over, which Is not the Way I had Originally mailed it Out. I Left A Message on Deputy Jim Guzman's Voice mail to return My Call.
May 26 2000Telephone conversation with:
Jim Guzman, Ca2/4 Deputy. He Was Told that one of the Originals should be sent to the Trial Court Along with Their Remittitur, and to Keep the other
May 26 2000Note:
Both Original certified copies of the Remittitur were Remailed Back to Ca2/4, to the Attention of Jim Guzman, Deputy Clerk.
Jun 13 2001Compensation awarded counsel
Atty Steiner

Aug 16 1999Opening brief on the merits filed
Appelant [Tillman]
Sep 15 1999Answer brief on the merits filed
Respondent People
Oct 13 1999Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
Appellant Eldon Dee Tillman
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website