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September 21, 2010

"State Crime Victim Recoveries"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting-looking new paper available via SSRN on state victim restitution policies and practicalities.  Here is the abstract:

Crime victim recoveries are typically available in American states through three separate, but related, avenues: a criminal proceeding (with or without a formal charge); a related civil claim (including a pre-suit settlement); and, a related administrative or special court proceeding. Multiple avenues can be pursued simultaneously.  These avenues often, but not always, have constitutional as well as statutory foundations.

Unfortunately state crime victims often go without recovery.  Barriers to recovery include intrastate and interstate confusion over terms like restitution and victim. More can be done for victims, especially during criminal case sentencing.  Unlike federal district courts, state criminal courts typically have general jurisdictional authority allowing broader opportunities for crime victim recoveries at the close of criminal cases.  Better crime victim recovery procedures are especially warranted where there are explicit state constitutional law interests.

September 21, 2010 at 10:14 AM | Permalink


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Nonsense. Restitution serves grandstanding politicians and bureaucrats paid to dun mostly destitute ex-cons far better than it serves crime victims.

Most criminal defendants are broke by the time courts impose restitution orders. Crime victims seldom recover much or anything at all because most ex-cons have nothing to give once the justice system is done with them.

Lawmakers' restitution fantasies and noisy gyrations serve their need to appear tough on criminals and compassionate toward victims. They also provide red meat for punishment enthusiasts' lust for ever harsher, more profound punishments...much in the way registries twist the knife in sex offenders.

So it's mostly a showy, cathartic, look-good, feel-good thing. If Congress really wanted to help crime victims recover losses, it would find ways to help ex-cons find gainful employment and fully re-enter society.

Posted by: John K | Sep 22, 2010 11:28:39 AM

Being a former FBOP prisoner with a heavy restitution component I have to agree with John K. It makes no sense and isn't going to make whole any victims. But it sure looks good on the transcript.

Posted by: Throsso | Sep 26, 2010 2:37:11 PM

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