Monday, January 13, 2014

Bill File: Justice Through Restitution


I recently drafted a bill file dealing with sentences of restitution when it relates to our juvenile offenders.  Here is a copy of the bill.




I have been working with the Attorney General's office in crafting this legislation.  As you can see, it is fairly simple (changes to current law are underlined).

The reason for the bill stems from a case in West Valley City where a young man was being chased by some peers in his neighborhood.  There was a dispute over personal property and the young man ended up killing one of his chasers in an act that had some elements of self defense but not entirely.  The courts determined that the youth who killed the other young man should be sentenced to detention and that a part of his sentence would be to pay for the burial costs of his victim.

However, after this young man served his time, the prosecuting attorneys motioned to the court to move forward with the restitution phase of his sentence.  It was at that time the defense attorneys for this young man cited a part of Utah Code that showed the young man did not owe restitution even though the court had ordered it.  Under current law, juvenile courts loose their jurisdiction once a youth has been sentenced to incarceration.  Hence, they cannot act on the restitution aspects of their sentences once the offender has served their time.

This bill simply allows the courts to maintain their jurisdiction over the offender after their time is served so that restitution can be fulfilled and supervised when it has been part of the offenders sentence.        

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