|Posted:||August 23, 2017 02:44 PM|
|From:||Representative Sheryl M. Delozier|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Restitution Bill Amending Definition of “Victim”|
|In the very near future, I will introduce legislation to amend the definition of “victim” for purposes of the restitution law so that it includes ALL victims, rather than only individuals.
I learned of the problem when I read recently that two men who were convicted in 2013 of defrauding four separate counties out of $2.47 million have appealed their restitution orders, based on a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision. In that decision, the Court vacated former State Representative Mike Veon’s $135,615 restitution order, because the Commonwealth could not be a “victim” entitled to restitution, as the term is defined. The restitution statute references the definition in the Crime Victims Act, and under that act, only individuals and their family members can be victims.
Not surprisingly, immediately on the heels of this decision, former Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese appealed their own restitution orders, and were released from repaying the Commonwealth $1 million and $116,668, respectively. And now it appears all but inevitable that the men who stole nearly $2.5 million from Northampton, Bucks, Cumberland and Lehigh Counties will also get away without paying back a dime.
The far-reaching implications of the Supreme Court’s decision are alarming. It means that, not only can the Commonwealth not be entitled to restitution, but neither can a bank, a family-owned business, a political subdivision, a retail store, a volunteer fire department or the PTA.
Please join me in supporting legislation to change this.
Introduced as HB1806