Ray the D.A. – restitution
Ray: Hello crime fighters. I’m Ray the D.A, and this is Straight Talk with Ray the D.A. and Amber Freeman. And today, again, we have as our guest Blerina Gojani, and Blerina you work with the Fayette Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
Blerina: That’s right.
Ray: And who is the Fayette Commonwealth Attorney now?
Blerina: It is Lou Anna Red Corn.
Ray: Yeah. We wanna give Lou Anna some props here because she was the one that suggested that we talk to Blerina, and we’re happy about that. You’re a victim’s advocate, and you’ve assumed a new, very important role in that office, and what is that?
Blerina: It is restitution.
Ray: Now, restitution means what?
Blerina: Restitution, the way I explain to interns when they come to the office just to make it easy, if somebody breaks into your house or basically you are hurt financially by the defendant, you are eligible to ask for restitution, basically to get paid back for. For example, deductibles, out of pocket … If your TV was broken, we can ask for that. Just things like that.
Ray: Well, one of the things that happened a couple of years ago, people would take the big air conditioning units that had copper in it, and they’d take the copper and they’d sell it for a few dollars, but it would cost 5, $10,000 to get the air conditioning unit fixed.
Blerina: That’s right. Yeah. And if you are covered by insurance, you still have the deductible, and that’s something that we can ask for in court.
Ray: Now, do victims understand that it takes a long time to get money back?
Blerina: That is true. They are. It is a frustration because, first of all, the court system it’s a length a little bit, but we have wonderful victim’s advocates that contact victims and explain how everything works. But sometimes they get so much information at a time that forget a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Because of that reason, I came up with a brochure where I thought it would be great for each victim to have it with them, so whenever they have a question, it’s explained and they know what happens even when the case is over, because restitution gets paid after the sentencing. That’s when the frustration comes after, as well.
Amber: Let me ask you something. As your average person, I have homeowners insurance, renters insurance. Does that not cover what’s stolen? Why do we need to go through this process in court?
Blerina: You mean why …
Amber: Would our insurance not cover it?
Blerina: If your insurance covers it, you will have a deductible, and that’s what we ask for. Now, if your insurance does not cover, then we will ask for the whole amount.
Amber : Okay. So, basically if you are a victim of theft, and even if you don’t have homeowners insurance, you’re the one who can help us out.
Amber: That’s good to know. I didn’t even know that was available.
Blerina: If you go to our website, wwwlexingtonprosecutor.Com, there is a loss report that you can just fill it out and send it to us, and we can work with it. Or give us a call, and we’ll tell you how to find it.
Amber: That’s good to know. I bet you stay busy.
Blerina: It is a busy job.
Amber: Is there a busy season? Around the holidays, does it get busier?
Blerina: I think we are busy all the time.
Amber: Okay. But does
Ray: I’ll tell you something that ticks me off. Couple of things. Number one, if I had to pay somebody, if I stole $100,000 and I had to pay $100,000 back, basically they can’t charge me interest, you see. That ticks you off. Why should my insurance company have to pay when this bum stole the property because that means everybody’s insurance premiums go up.
Amber: Let me ask you. Where does that money come from? Does the person who stole the air conditioning unit have to pay it back, because chances are they my not have it, right?
Blerina: It depends on the sentencing date. If the defendant is sent to probation, they have to find a job and then start paying a monthly amount, and that monthly amount is set by the judge. Now, if the defendant serves out that time, we cannot, our office, force a restitution, and that’s kind of a sad-
Ray: We don’t have a hammer at that point. Well, we’ve just run out of time, and I’m getting the signal. Once again, they wanna tell you here in a minute that they’re not responsible for what I say. They are responsible for what Amber says. See you next time crime fighters.