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FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND



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FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The victim, Julie Newmar reported that sometime between October 25, 2008, and November 3, 2008, jewelry was stolen from her home (“First Burglary”). According to Newmar, many of the jewelry pieces were custom designed. Newmar valued the collection at $250,000, but “in sentimental value, it is worth a million dollars.”

Subsequently, Newmar reported a second residential burglary when jewelry and electronics equipment were stolen from her home on April 9, 2009 (“Second Burglary”).

Shortly thereafter Newmar reported to detectives investigating the crimes that she had located some of the jewelry stolen during the First Burglary on eBay, an on-line auction website. A company by the name of “Gemrush,” located in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, was conducting the auction of the jewelry on eBay.

In addition to reporting the crimes to police, Newmar contacted appellant, who was her attorney at the time. Appellant purportedly contacted Gemrush and asked that it cancel the auction on-line. According to Newmar, appellant stated that the owner of Gemrush did not know where he obtained the jewelry.

Los Angeles police detectives investigating the crimes contacted police detectives in Illinois, who in turn also contacted Gemrush. An owner of Gemrush told the police that the jewelry was purchased at a flea market. The seller claimed that the jewelry belonged to a neighbor of Jim Belushi in Los Angeles (Newmar is Belushi’s neighbor). Police retrieved an emerald necklace and three sets of earrings from Gemrush and sent it to Los Angeles. Some of the jewelry had been altered. Newmar indicated that a 20 to 25 carat green emerald stone was missing from the emerald necklace that had been returned.

In June of 2009, an anonymous tip to police implicated appellant as the perpetrator of the two burglaries at the Newmar home. The tip also disclosed that appellant and Newmar had been in a relationship, that the large emerald stone had been a gift from appellant to Newmar, and that appellant claimed to have contacts in Illinois.

Based on the tip, police re-interviewed the owners of Gemrush. According to one of the owners, appellant sent the stolen jewelry to Gemrush, claiming that the jewelry had been obtained from an estate sale.

Appellant was arrested and charged with grand theft of personal property in the First Burglary. (Pen. Code,1 § 487, subd. (a).)2 Appellant pled not guilty. However, before the preliminary hearing, appellant withdrew his not guilty plea, and entered a plea of nolo contendere. The trial court accepted the factual basis for appellant’s plea and found him guilty of the First Burglary. The court suspended the imposition of sentence and appellant was granted three years of formal probation, provided he serve 45 days of community service and pay full restitution to Newmar.3 After a restitution hearing, appellant was ordered to pay victim restitution of $221,775.

Appellant filed an appeal.4 Appellant also filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.5



DISCUSSION

In this court appellant claims that the restitution award was not supported by sufficient evidence and that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to contest the evidence presented at the restitution hearing.






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