Crime victims received an extra $107,557 from defendants last year through Napa County’s Restitution Court, the District Attorney’s Office has announced.
The program increased payouts to victims from the 37 probationers assigned to the court in 2019, boosting average monthly restitutions more than sixfold, according to Assistant District Attorney Paul Gero. Overall collections have nearly tripled from the $35,916 returned to victims in 2016, when Restitution Court was founded as a joint effort between the state and the county’s DA and probation and court systems.
During 2016, the average monthly payment from a Restitution Court defendant was $147.48 – 506 percent more than the $24.35 for other defendants, the county reported. That difference was in line with figures from 2018, according to Gero.
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Participants selected for the court are people who are on probation and have paid little or none of their required compensation to victims of their crimes, according to Gero, who said the payouts are directed to targets of assault, battery, embezzlement, burglary, and injuries caused by drunken driving.
“They go to Restitution Court and we hold them accountable each month – that money is going to the victims, 100 percent of it,” he said last Thursday.
Restitution Court usually meets at 11 a.m. on the third Monday of the month, inside the county’s Third Street courthouse. Probationers gather to discuss their employment status, future court dates and whether their monthly payments are too high or low, and victims owed compensation also are allowed to speak.
Indigent defendants are encouraged to gain employment in order to pay compensation, and in some cases are required to offer proof of job seeking to the court, Gero said.
You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or email@example.com