Menu Close

Stephen Eugene Harder, 45, who resides in Woodland, was found guilty of five counts of workers’ compensation fraud (Ins. Code, § 1871.4.) after a January 2012 jury trial. The case stemmed from a February 2009 complaint from the State Compensation Insurance Fund alleging Harder “was attempting to exaggerate his industrial injury and claiming that it was more severe than it actually was.” An investigation reportedly revealed Harder engaging in activity, such as gold mining, that was inconsistent with his claimed injuries.

The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed him on five years’ probation subject to various terms and conditions set forth in a three-page written probation order. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court gave the probation order to Harder to sign, along with another document that purportedly “explain[ed] how [the court] calculated the fines and fees that [we]re included in the conditions of probation.” Harder signed the probation order immediately under a line that read, “I hereby certify that I understand the terms and conditions of my probation as set forth in this order.”

The probation order required him to pay $500 as a fine plus $1,500 penalty assessment; plus a processing fee of $35, and pay $240 as a restitution fine for each felony case and $120 as a restitution fine for each misdemeanor case to the State Restitution Fund pursuant to PC § 1202.4(b); plus a processing fee of $20 for each felony case and a $10 processing fee for each misdemeanor case, and be confined in the Yolo County Jail for a period of 150 days with credit for time served, and 90 days jail stayed, and pay restitution in the sum of $159,801.74 covering losses related to the charge(s) s/he stands convicted of, or in accordance with the plea agreement; plus interest at the rate of 10% per annum; plus a collection fee of 10% of the restitution total; (PC § 1202.4).

Harder appealed claiming various errors with respect to the fees, fines, and costs the trial court imposed in granting him probation. The Court of Appeal in the unpublished case of People v Harder found these claims of error forfeited for failure to raise them in the trial court. He also claimed his trial attorney was ineffective in failing to make these arguments. The Court of Appeal concluded that Harder’s trial attorney was not ineffective, but ordered the trial court to impose the $1,500 penalty assessment and the $35 processing fee as separate orders and not as conditions of his probation as the trial court did here. Otherwise, the Court of Appeal found no error.