Crime Is Big Business: US Attorney’s Office Collects Millions in Sacramento
Everyone wants lower crime rates and safer streets in Sacramento. However, the present crime rate also allows the federal court system to collect millions for cases tried in Sacramento courts. According to a recent article, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, of which Sacramento is a part, reported that it collected $81.9 million in 2013, $2.3 million of which was connected to criminal actions. The remainder was collected in civil and forfeiture cases handled in and around Sacramento.
Financial recoveries are a “critical part” of the department’s job, according to Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. In fact, Wagner was pleased to note that the total amount collected for victims and taxpayers more than covered the operating costs for his office. Nationally, about $8.1 billion is collected by the U.S. Department of Justice each year.
How Does Collecting Compensation Help Crime Victims?
It is not the place of a criminal court to compensate victims for financial losses. That job rightly belongs to the civil sector of the court system. However, judges in criminal cases are permitted to order restitution to the victim if there is a clear and definite financial loss that can be documented. In many cases in which property is stolen, for example, the judge may order the accused thief to pay the owner of the property for the lost merchandise.
In order to facilitate the payment of restitution to victims, both California state and federal courts may collect money from the accused person and distribute it to the victims. This may be done as part of a plea agreement or as part of a judgment made after a guilty verdict.
Can I Negotiate Restitution As Part of a Plea?
One of the ways you may be able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with a prosecuting attorney is by offering to make financial restitution to the victim. An offer of restitution shows two things: first, that you accept responsibility for your actions; and second, that you recognize the victim’s loss. Both of those things make it much more likely that a prosecutor will agree to a negotiated plea.
Amerio Law Firm attorneys can help you negotiate the most favorable plea agreement possible. Whether or not your plea includes financial restitution, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney before agreeing to any plea arrangement.