Restitution For Crime Victims
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would give state officials and crime victims more tools to collect restitution from criminals. The Crime Victims Restitution Act, House Bill 788, now moves to the Appropriations Committee. The bill would force employers to withhold income from some convicted criminals. It would also keep some criminals on probation until they have paid all restitution, and it would prohibit a judge from considering a defendant's ability to pay when determining restitution. Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, said that only 60 percent of restitution that is imposed in North Carolina is ever paid, compared with 80 percent in some states. Legislators passed a bill in 1998 that, for the first time, required judges to order restitution in certain cases. In a statewide referendum in 1996, voters made restitution for crime victims a right under the North Carolina Constitution.