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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99202 Find in a Library
Title: Restitution in the Criminal Process - Procedures for Fixing the Offender's Liability
Journal: Yale Law Journal  Volume:93  Issue:3  Dated:(1984)  Pages:505-522
Author(s): L P Fletcher
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Resolving the tension between defendants' rights and victims' interests under the 1982 Victim and Witness Protection Act requires the imposition of restitutionary liability in the adjudicatory phase; this requires changes in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to integrate restitution into pleading and plea bargaining.
Abstract: Prior to the Federal Victim and Witness Protection Act, Federal law permitted restitution only as a probation condition and only to victims for the actual damages caused by the conviction offense. The Victim and Witness Protection Act abolishes the probation limitation and omits, although without substantial comment, the conviction-offense provision. Courts thus face a dilemma in interpreting the act. If courts abolish the connection between the conviction offense and the restitution order, defendants will be exposed to restitutionary liability that bears no relation to the expectations which guided defense strategies. On the other hand, the perpetuation of an unmodified conviction-offense constraint would undercut the act's intent to compensate victims as completely as possible for the losses suffered due to the crime. An interpretation of the act is needed which preserves the function of the adjudicatory phase in defining the liability of the defendant while still permitting comprehensive responses to victim injuries. This can be done by imposing restitutionary liability in the adjudicatory rather than the sentencing stage and changing the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to integrate restitution into the pleading and plea bargaining stages so as to permit the defendant to admit to restitutionary liability broader than the scope of the charged offense. Sixty-seven footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Criminal procedures; Restitution; Victim compensation; Victim Witness Protection Act 1982
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