Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, June 24, 2019


Page 1


Court of Appeal:

Arsonist Properly Ordered to Pay Value Of Jewelry Stolen From Among Debris


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The appeal was resolved in a 551-word unpublished memorandum opinion by Justice Adrienne Grover.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.

Grover wrote:

“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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