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Spitzer Law Blog

News & Views on Victims' RIghts

Orange County Superior Court Appellate Division Grants Spitzer Client New Restitution Hearing After Prosecutor Violated Her Marsy's Law Rights

By Todd Spitzer, Attorney at Law and Victim's Advocate

On October 3, 2012, the Three Judge Panel of the Appellate Division of the Orange County Superior Court agreed to issue a Writ of Mandate ordering the Orange County Superior Court Trial Division to give Spitzer Client, Lori Galvin, a de novo restitution hearing after the Deputy District Attorney and the Public Defender unlawfully stipulated to a restitution amount without consulting the Victim.

Never forget that the Prosecutor does not represent the Victim unless, under Marsy's Law, the Victim elects to have the Prosecutor represent her.  In this case, Lori Galvin was ready to testify at the Restitution Hearing and remained isolated in the Victim Witness Office waiting for the Deputy DA to call her to Court for the hearing.  Instead, the DDA went behind Galvin's back and settled the restitution amount WITHOUT letting Galvin know.  He agreed to a little more than $1,000 when she was owed more than $10,000 because the DDA did not undestand the law.

The Court of Appeal backed Spitzer's client and wrote:

"Nonetheless, Mr. Spitzer's declaration that the prosecutor and defense counsel entered into an "unlawful stipulation" "in violation of Marsy's Law," combined with the court's own recollection of its ruling that the victim could seek restitution on the dimissed count, could have provided the court with sufficient information from which  to determine that the amount stipulated to by the prosecutor and defense counsel appeared insufficient to compensate the victim's injuries....Based on the record, the amount awarded in this case does not appear to have constituted "full restitution"."  The People's stipulation did not and could not deprive the victim of her right to full restitution; the right to victim restitution is mandatory and "cannot be bargained away by the People."

The entire opinion is below:


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