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17 Cap. U. L. Rev. 55 (1987-1989)
The Scope of Criminal Restitution: Awarding Unliquidated Damages in Sentencing Hearings

handle is hein.journals/capulr17 and id is 65 raw text is: THE SCOPE OF CRIMINAL RESTITUTION: AWARDING UNLIQUIDATED
During the past several years a variety of victim groups have forced
the criminal justice system to pay more attention to the restitution needs
of victims.' Criminal courts, however, are still limited in the types of
restitution they may award. Typically, sentencing judges can award
restitution for the whole range of liquidated damages including the value
of stolen or destroyed property, medical expenses, and lost past wages.'
In most jurisdictions, however, criminal courts cannot award restitution
for unliquidated damages involving compensation for pain and suffer-
ing, or for lost future earning capacity.' Crime victims must initiate a
civil suit at their own expense to obtain a civil judgment for unliquidated
damages, and then must attempt on their own to force a criminal, who
may be violent, to pay these civil damages.
Our present system for awarding unliquidated damages to crime vic-
tims does not work well. Unliquidated damage issues primarily affect
victims of personal violence. Considerable evidence exists indicating that
victims face some obstacles in winning a civil suit, but even greater ones
in collecting civil awards for unliquidated damages.4 Victims would be
better off if these issues were handled by criminal courts. Criminal
restitution frees crime victims from the responsibilities of bringing a
civil action, but most importantly criminal courts can use probation of-
ficers and the threat of revocation to induce probationers and parolees
to pay their restitution orders.
There are two possible solutions. First, civil collection methods could
be improved to help crime victims. Second, the scope of criminal restitu-
tion could be expanded to encompass the full range of damage issues,
which is already the practice in many European criminal courts.5 This
paper will focus on the second approach, but will discuss the first one.
* Bradford Mank received his Juris Doctorate Degree from the Yale Law School
and is currently a law clerk for the honorable Justice David Shea of the Connecticut
Supreme Court.
1. See Gittler, Expanding the Role of the Victim in a Criminal Action: Overview
of Issues and Problems, 11 PEPPERDINE L. REv. 117, 118-24 (1984); Goldstein, Defining the
Role of the Victim in Criminal Restitution, 52 Miss. L.J. 515, 516-20 (1982).
2. See Harland, Monetary Remedies for the Victims of Crime: Assessing the Role
of Criminal Courts, 30 U.C.L.A. L. REV. 52, 87-89 (1982).
3. Id.
4. See notes 32-60 infra and accompanying text.
5. See Goldstein, supra note 1, at 546-47.

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