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Order Requiring Defendant to Pay Restitution to Pay to Victim's Estate Upheld, Plus Other Criminal, Juvenile & Trust Matters

By FindLaw Staff on September 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Weinberger v. Morris, B215819, concerned a challenge to an order finding a trustee the beneficiary of the trust, in plaintiff's claims regarding the construction of his deceased mother's trust instrument against the trustee and others.  In affirming the judgment, the court held that, although the law generally implies a requirement for the prompt distribution of an estate under the language of Estate of Newman, such a requirement under the language in this trust cannot be implied as the trust contemplated ongoing management until a final distribution, at the trustee's discretion, to a then-living beneficiary, which is also consistent with the fundamental purpose of the trust which expressly provides that the testator had intentionally omitted to provide for plaintiff.


People v. Runyan, B218863, concerned a challenge to the trial court's judgment ordering the defendant to pay restitution of $446,486 to the victim's estate, in a prosecution of defendant for gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence causing injury, and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater causing injury.  In affirming the restitution order, the court held that, because defendant caused the victim's death, the trial court properly awarded restitution to the victim's estate and defendant has failed to reference any authority that holds that the estate of an actual victim is not entitled to restitution when the criminal actions of a defendant end the life of the actual victim.

In re Ethan C., B219894, concerned a challenge to a juvenile court's finding that petitioner's minor children were dependents of the court within the meaning of section 300(b), (f) and (j), and that there were no reasonable means to protect the children short of removal in placing them in Department of Children and Family Service's custody, arising from the death of petitioner's toddler daughter in a traffic accident due to petitioner's failure to secure the daughter in a car seat.

In affirming in part, the court held that the juvenile court properly sustained allegations premised on petitioner's failure to secure his daughter in a car seat, and there is no support for petitioner's assertion that criminal negligence must be shown to sustain an allegation under section 300(f).  Also, there is sufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's findings sustaining the allegations under section 300(b) regarding the risk of harm to the children due to historical domestic violence between their parents and the mother's cognitive limitations.  However, the court reversed in part, as the juvenile court erred by dismissing the allegations under section 300(b) regarding the petitioner's neglect of his daughter which resulted in her death as these allegations are a necessary predicate to sustain identical allegations under section 300(j), which the juvenile court sustained.

In re D.C., A127228, concerned a challenge to a juvenile court's denial of a minor-defendant's motion to suppress evidence of stolen goods found in his room, in finding defendant a continued ward of the court and continuing probation in the custody of his mother.  In affirming, the court held that, although defendant's arguments that the evidence should have been suppressed because his mother did not have authority to consent to a search of his bedroom and that his objection to the officers' entry to the apartment precluded consensual search under Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006), might have prevailed were he an adult, his mother had authority to consent to the search of his bedroom and to override any objection he raised to the search of her apartment.

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