Monday, June 24, 2019
Court of Appeal:
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Sixth District Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the contention of a man who set his girlfriend’s house on fire that the restitution order should not have included the value of jewelry—$29,919.23—which was apparently not destroyed in the blaze but disappeared afterward, possibly pilfered by a member of the cleanup crew.
The appeal was resolved in a 551-word unpublished memorandum opinion by Justice Adrienne Grover. The sole issue was whether Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Cynthia Sevely erred in including the value of the jewelry in the $887,756.15 restitution award.
Defendant Landon Cramer—who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the arson and unrelated offenses—contended that his action did not proximately cause the particular loss.
“Setting fire to the house where the jewelry was kept played more than an infinitesimal or theoretical part in bringing about its loss. A significant house fire renders the structure insecure and its contents vulnerable to damage, misplacement, mishandling, or even theft. That some possessions, even though they survive a blaze, may ultimately not be recovered from the wreckage is a predictable outcome. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by including the value of the missing jewelry in the amount of restitution.”
The case is People v. Cramer, H044625.
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