Phil Spector Sentenced to 19 Years to Life, Must Pay Victim Restitution

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on May 29, 2009 3:30 PM

As expected, Phil Spector received a sentence today which could very well mean he'll live out the remainder of his days in prison. The AP reports that the former music producer and songwriter was sentenced today to 19 years to life in prison for second degree murder in the shooting death of 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson.

Spector's infamy is probably far more fresh than his fame, at this point, as the AP noted that "[d]uring jury selection, only a few panelists remembered Spector's heyday as producer of teen anthems including "To Know Him is to Love Him" by The Teddy Bears, The Ronette's "Be My Baby," The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and The Righteous Brothers' classic, "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'.""

Spector's murder case has taken a long, circuitous route since he was charged in 2003 (a jury deadlocked in an earlier trial on the murder charge), and Spector has spent millions in defense fees. The sentence is adding some more to his tab too, as the judge "ordered Spector to pay $16,811 in funeral expenses, $9,740 to a state victims' restitution fund and other fees."

California Penal Code section 1202.4 covers the imposition of victim restitution fines, and generally requires courts to do so, stating:

"In every case where a person is convicted of a crime, the court shall impose a separate and additional restitution fine, unless it finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so..."

For a person convicted of a felony, the maximum victim restitution fine is $10,000 while a misdemeanor carries a maximum $1,000 fine. It should be noted further victim restitution can be ordered by courts for economic losses suffered by victims and their families, depending on the specific crimes and circumstances at issue in each case.

Although the AP reports Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson suggested the case was on "rock solid" legal ground and "will not be subject to a successful appeal", the road isn't over for this case, according to defense attorney Doron Weinberg who "told reporters that the appeal will be extremely strong."