California v. NicholsAnnotate this Case
Defendant Melissa Nichols was charged in an information with the murder of James Payne, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury to Payne and Kandis Maddox, and driving with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level causing injury. It was also alleged as to counts III and IV that defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury upon Maddox and that defendant proximately caused death or bodily injury to more than one victim. Count I was dismissed, and the case proceeded to trial on the remaining counts. A jury found her guilty of one count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury. She was sentenced to two years in prison. Defendant appealed a resulting victim restitution order following the judgment of conviction. The trial court awarded full restitution to the parents of the victim for travel expenses and lost wages related to the parents’ attendance at court proceedings. On appeal, defendant contended that the trial court erred in declining to apply the doctrine of comparative negligence to reduce the restitution award. The Court of Appeal concluded that the doctrine of comparative negligence did not apply to reduce Penal Code section 1202.41 restitution to which the parents of a direct victim are entitled as reimbursement for their own economic loss.