A monthly newsletter from OCVJC with the latest information about victims’ rights.
Restitution for Victims under Marsy’s Law
This is a multipart series about Marsy's Law a victims' rights constitutional amendment that has been in effect for over a year. Our goal is to make Marsy's Law more accessible to victims and advocates.
In Ohio, Marsy’s Law is also referred to as the Ohio Crime Victims Bill of Rights. In the last issue we discussed who is a victim. This month we review the basic victim rights included in Marsy’s Law.
(PLEASE NOTE: This explanation addresses the Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment only. Implementing legislation will refine and define many of the rights discussed herein.)
In Ohio, Marsy’s Law is formally referred to as the Ohio Crime Victims Bill of Rights. In the last issue we discussed victims' rights included in Marsy’s Law. This month we are focusing on restitution. Please remember that restitution is only available to people meeting the definition of crime victim (discussed in our February issue). We also provide a summary of Marsy’s Law.
Does a judge have to order restitution be paid to victims prior to court costs, fines, and fees or is this just assumed? Do courts have discretion over what categories of restitution they order?
Marsy’s Law provides that victims are entitled to full and timely restitution. Courts are required to order restitution, not to exceed a victim’s actual losses. Victims must still prove their losses in compensable categories. Implementing legislation may include a prioritized order in which restitution is to be paid.
Do insurance companies have right to restitution for money paid to insured/crime victim? Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center does not consider Marsy’s Law to provide this type of relief for insurance companies. Currently, Ohio law provides for payment of restitution to the victim in open court, to the probation department, to the clerk of courts, or another agency as designated by the court. An insurance company is not a proper “agency as designated by the court.” See State v. Colon, 185 Ohio App.3d 671 (2d Dist. 2010). The insurance company can seek relief via subrogation or other channels, which may include seeking reimbursement from victims for amounts paid by both insurance and restitution.
If an offender is incarcerated, can victims get restitution from money on the offender’s books?
Inmates are subject to several deductions from their accounts, including child support, fines/fees, and restitution.
Is it possible for the courts to deem “full restitution” at a lower amount than the loss that the victim actually accrued or does Marsy’s Law require the actual “Full Amount?”
Marsy’s Law requires full and timely restitution based on actual losses. Implementing legislation may include, but is not limited to: requisite evidentiary standard, preservation of an offender’s assets, civil judgments, and prioritized order of restitution payments.
Does the right to restitution apply to ongoing cases that were filed before February 5, 2018?
Restitution is part of sentencing. Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center believes this is applicable to an offender sentenced on or after February 5, 2018.
Is a payment schedule required?
In most situations, it will be necessary. The payment terms can be modified for periods of incarceration or similar circumstances that warrant a modification.
Unfortunately, many victims do not understand how to access their rights. To help victims and professionals who support victims, OCVJC has created a toolkit where you can review victims rights based on the type of crime, victim’s age, and other details. Using the Crime Victims Rights Toolkit, you can quickly identify which rights victims have and use tools to ensure these rights are upheld.
You can learn more about Marsy's Law on our website.
If you have a Marsy's Law question, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Volunteer Interns!
Each semester, OCVJC is fortunate to have volunteers and interns help in the office. This summer, we were fortunate to have many legal and paralegal interns in the Columbus office.
Although they come from different backgrounds and attend different universities, five became very close while working on several projects together. They worked collectively on a few different projects using a variety of their skills. The first, a 50 state survey, is a data compilation that improved and expanded upon their research skills. The interns have become very familiar with Lexis Nexis regarding victims’ rights throughout the United States. The second project was beefing up their writing skills by composing an Amicus Brief for a restitution case. Lastly, they reviewed and improved several documents for the attorneys.
In order of the photo above, they are:
Carly Suierveld is a 2nd year student at the University of Dayton School of Law. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a career as a civil rights attorney.
Pamela Losego is a 2nd year student at Bowling Green State University studying Criminal Justice Forensics Investigations. She is a victim advocate intern here at OCVJC. After Pamela graduates, she aspires to be accepted into Secret Service training in 2022.
Hanna Fortney is a 2nd year student currently pursuing her J.D. at Ohio State University. Her dog, Barry, also enjoys visiting and working at the office. After graduation, Hanna aspires to be a prosecuting attorney.
Sabitha Singh is a 2nd year law student at Capital University Law School. After graduation, she would like to establish a career as an attorney practicing criminal law.
Allison Webster has completed her Paralegal associates degree from Columbus State. She recently secured a job as a case manager at the law firm of Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis.
OCVJC is very excited for each of these interns, but, also, sad to see them go.
Below is an image sample from the Crime Victims Rights Toolkit. Here, you can quickly see a list of rights, with a description, information on if you need to specifically request this right or if it is automatic, and the category.
The toolkit has the following categories:
Visit the Crime Victims Rights Toolkit
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