I am growing weary about the importance of Restitution to District Attorneys in Adams and Mesa County, Colorado. In most every financial crime like Forgery and Theft, DAs make getting money back for their victims the most important part of the case. In many cases, I have had DAs unashamedly say that if my client can come up with a large Restitution payment, he can stay out of prison.
How is the ability to repay money such an important component to justice? If a person charged with Theft or Forgery has a rich family member or a lot of equity in his home, he can make a big restitution payment and end up with a much better sentence – like probation. The woman who steals from her employer and is poor, will end up with a much worse sentence – probably one to prison.
What Motivates District Attorneys?
DAs like it when a victim and police think well of them. The more money they can recover, the happier police investigators and victims in Denver and Jefferson County are. If little money is recovered in the form of Restitution, no one is impressed. So, the bottom line is that if you can make the DA look good, you will more likely stay out of prison. This is a real “cause and effect”.
No Harm – No Foul?
Where did this saying come from anyway? It must have been from a Douglas County or Arapahoe County District Attorney’s training program where lawyers for the government were taught that if they can get money back, they can go easy on a defendant. The idea is that full restitution makes a victim whole, so no one has been harmed as bad as when no money is recovered. The problem is that the poor are treated so differently than the rich. Justice should not be so dependent on economic status. While I like the idea of making victim’s whole as soon as possible, I don’t like the idea of prejudicing the poor.
If you are contacted by police concerning a theft or forgery claim, never speak with police. Everything you say “can and will be used against you”. Instead, be smart, and call our lawyers at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
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