By House Delegate Rob Bell (R, VA-58)
Letter to Constituents (“Rob Bell for Delegate” on January 29, 2017)
On Friday, a House Committee endorsed three of my bills to improve restitution for crime victims.
Under current law, when a defendant is convicted of a crime, a court can order him to pay the victim restitution for financial damages like medical bills. After numerous complaints about nonpayment, we studied the issue and found that the problem was system-wide—there was an appalling $233 million in delinquent unpaid restitution.
Crime victims already suffer the crime itself and then have the indignities of testifying in court. I believe that we should do all we can to get their costs like medical bills paid.
The legislation states:
1. Judges shall set restitution at the time of sentencing.
2. Defendants shall stay on probation until restitution is paid.
3. If a defendant does not complete restitution by the court-ordered payment date, the court shall be notified so the defendant can be brought back before the judge.
4. Any payments made by the defendant shall be applied to restitution before being applied to satisfy other costs like fines—the victim comes first.
Once other committees get their review, I’m hopeful the bills will pass the House and be sent to the Senate. You can follow the progress of these or any other bills by clicking here.