Restitution for Victims of Crime

A man who was found guilty of aggravated assault appealed when the trial judge ordered him to go to jail for 10 years and to pay the victim restitution, including S2,800 in lost wages. The man was convicted, af. terjury trial, of aggravated assault for hitting the victim with an electric guitar, causing the victim to suffer a broken wrist, a broken eye socket, and facial numbness.

The victim was an independent contractor who regularly worked for Amtrak. At the sentencing hearing, the victim produced extensive documentation of his income from Amtrak. The S2,800 lost wages accrued over the two-month period of the victim’s recovery. The appeal court upheld the trial judge’s order of restitution to the victim for lost wages.

Pennsylvania law requires that sentencing judges include “full restitution’ in their sentencing orders, “regardless of the current financial resources of the defendant.’ The goal of restitution is to “provide the victim with the fullest compensation for the loss.” The Pennsylvania statute does not permit reduction of a restitution award if the victim receives insurance coverage or government benefits that pay some of his or her losses. If such payments are made, the convicted criminal must then reimburse the insurance company or the governmentagency,

Pennsylvania operates a Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund that provides benefits to some victims of crime. Local law enforcement authorities regularly assist victims in applying for Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund benefits. If you suffer any losses directly as the result of the commission of a crime, be sure to provide full documentation of your losses to the law enforcement authorities involved in the prosecution. You may be able to collect benefits or restitution for your losses.

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