Groups: Discuss RJ City
Ask questions, propose corrections or additions, raise objections, propose programmes and generally comment on RJ City as presented in the Phase 1 Report.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-03-15 20:44.
Victims of one of the largest automotive scams in U.S. history soon could receive restitution checks that will pay only about 6 cents for every dollar they lost. A federal judge in Kansas City this week approved a payment plan in the so-called Miracle Cars case that would distribute about $930,000 in restitution funds among about 2,300 victims.
Robert Gomez and James Nichols, two former California security
guards, sold more than $21 million worth of nonexistent cars to
churchgoers who thought they were getting bargains from the estate of a
wealthy Christian. Convicted in Kansas City in 2003, both were
sentenced to more than 21 years in prison. Two others, Gwendolyn Baker
and Corinne Conway, also pleaded guilty... .
After the defendants were sentenced, investigators began identifying victims, contacting them directly, by mail and through e-mail. While Gomez and Nichols paid some refunds during the scam to pacify unhappy victims, prosecutors have verified $14.6 million in outstanding claims... .
About $819,000 of the restitution fund came from poker chips recovered from Gomez on his arrest at a California casino or seized from his home later. The rest came from the sale of jewelry, sports memorabilia, real estate and vehicles that investigators seized from the defendants.
How can RJ City respond to the problem of fraud, to the large losses by victims, and the relatively small amounts recovered from offenders? One way, of course, is to inform its residents so that they are less vulnerable to scam artists. Les Henderson, a Canadian, has developed a remarkable website on what he calls "Crimes of Persuasion" with extensive sections on various schemes as well as several pages on the problems of obtaining restitution.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-03-13 21:25.
In the many conversations I have had with mediators over the years about the role of lawyers at the mediation table, one thing has sadly stood out: the extent to which many mediators distrust attorneys and misconstrue their motives. They see attorneys as sources not healers of conflict and view them as obstacles to resolution. As a mediator who is also an attorney, I have to say that this is unfortunate and short-sighted.
Here now are specific ways in which lawyers can make a positive difference to what happens at the mediation table.
Preparedness for mediation... .
Informed decisions... .
Helping clients participate... .
Creative problem-solving... .
Offset power imbalances... .
Size up the no-agreement alternative... .
Make decisions... .
Look for the devil in the details... .
This is part of a three-part article on "Bridging the Divide Between Lawyers and Mediators" found on the blog Online Guide To Mediation, which is worth checking out.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-03-13 21:10.
John M. Claydon Jr. admitted Monday that he acted like a person with no conscience. The former Fairfield lawyer wouldn't get much of an argument from the 36 clients from whom he stole at least $3.9 million, destroying dreams of retirement, new homes and even cancer treatment.
"I would like to say there is no excuse for the behavior in which I engaged," Claydon told the judge. "That was not the way I was raised or trained. My actions hurt many people. I hope they accept my apology."
No one knows where all the money went. Claydon has told authorities he spent $118,000 on an in-ground pool supposedly for his wife's therapy. He spent additional money buying a car and improving his home. But at the same time, he claimed to have taken about a dozen high-interest loans ranging from $60,000 to $70,000, as well as a $200,000 second mortgage on his Trumbull home to cover cash shortfalls at his law firm.
Thomas, the assistant public defender appointed to represent Claydon, doubts there will be anything more than his client's Social Security to pay off his enormous debt.
Kravitz ordered that 10 percent of that Social Security check be paid every month to the victims in the federal case.
Submitted by dan. on 2007-03-05 00:41.
Were you surprised or intrigued by any of the features of RJ City that were described in the Case Study? Did you have questions or comments? Did something make you think of programmes you know of?The Case Study on the homepage of www.rjcity.org was designed to show some of the features of the justice system in RJ City. These are presented in more logical form in the Phase 1 Report. Were you surprised or intrigued by any of the features of RJ City that were described in the Case Study? Did you have questions or comments? Did something make you think of programmes you know of? Let's get started talking about this by commenting on the Case Study.
Submitted by daniel. on 2007-02-02 23:27.
The Restorative Community Foundation is a non-profit organization seeking to create an actual RJ City in the Charlottesville/Albermarle community in Virginia, USA. Their activities at this time are focused on exploring the cost and effectiveness of current “justice and discipline” practices in the community, and raising public awareness of better approaches.
A Brown County judge on Monday ordered a woman convicted of stealing $112,223 while an airport parking cashier to pay $22,223 in restitution.
Deputy Dist. Atty. John Luetscher noted that Standard's insurance company — AIG — paid $90,000 of the amount and Standard Parking made up the rest, which included a $10,000 deductible and investigative and accounting fees.
Kelley ordered Eland to pay the $22,223 to Standard for its losses.
Kelley noted that AIG, in its role as an insurer, took on some of that risk of being a victim voluntarily.
"They get paid to bear that risk," Kelley said, noting that nothing prevents AIG from suing Eland in civil court to recoup its losses.
"The $500 (insurance deductible) I had to shell out, we had to go with one car and move all of the car seats (out of the van) - it's not something we won't live through. It's just really crappy. "It was the major car in our family. We have two kids, and there was just glass everywhere." The minivan's rear windshield and two side windows were shot out. They cost more than $1,875 to fix, and a dent from a BB was later found underneath a window. Now that his vehicle has been repaired and the alleged vandals - five teenage boys - have been caught, Bright wants compensation.
Sangamon County first assistant state's attorney Steve Weinhoeft said his office has charged Marquez and the other boys with conspiracy, which could help with restitution because "all of the defendants become equally responsible for the actions of their co-conspirators."
However, police still will have to prove a connection between the crimes for victims to receive compensation, Weinhoeft said.
"The law gives us the burden to prove that restitution should be ordered, and we also have to prove the amount."
In addition, when a vandalism case involves juveniles, as this one allegedly does, Illinois' parental responsibility law may come into effect. The law makes a parent or guardian of someone older than 11 but under age 19 who lives with them liable for intentional actions that hurt someone else.
The article outlines the procedures in Illinois for victims who want restitution. Read it all.
A former dialysis clinic bookkeeper asked a judge to grant her a long probation and make her pay full restitution for stealing more than a million dollars from her employer. Instead, Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Deborah L. Toda to 25 years in prison. The judge handed down the sentence Friday and ordered "that restitution be paid by whatever funds possible, whenever possible."
"It's well-deserved because no bank robber in the history of Trumbull, Mahoning or Columbiana [counties] was able to steal $1.6 million, said Kenneth Cardinal, an assistant county prosecutor, who added he believed "this is the largest heist ever recorded" in this area.
"This case, although very, very serious, is a nonviolent case, and nobody was physically hurt," Toda's lawyer, Douglas Taylor, told the judge before she imposed the sentence.
Clairmont expresses concern that, without increased support from the government, the community agencies that administer the program may not be able to keep up. Case workers will require more hours to prepare offenders and victims for meetings. And offenders may need more support to help them complete their commitments to victims and to stay out of trouble. "We can't do restorative justice on the cheap if it's going to do significant cases," he says. "If you're starting to get repeat offenders, kids who are assaulting others on a regular basis, kids who have a lot of problems, you're going to need to have some resources."
A study by Dalhousie University criminologist Don Clairmont found that almost one third of young offenders whose first offence was dealt with through restorative justice went on be convicted for another offence. But for youths whose first offence led to a court conviction, 53 per cent were later convicted on other charges. About 20 per cent of each group were later referred to restorative justice for a later crime.
Clairmont is cautious about reading too much into the figures. Cases that go to restorative justice usually involve less serious charges, and the young person involved has less history of trouble.
"The more true test is that as cases in restorative justice begin to approach in seriousness the cases in court, the better record of (restorative justice) still holds up," he says.
More serious cases are already coming. The number of cases involving violent offences sent to restorative justice grew from 136 in 2000 to 267 in 2004. In Halifax, violent offences accounted for 18 per cent of restorative-justice cases in 2005-06.
"We started off with very low-harm crimes, like break and enter, shoplifting," Atwell says. "And over the years, we've been getting more referrals from the police, from the Crown and from the courts, and some of these cases are now assault with weapons, extensive property damage."
This is a very healpful article about Nova Scotia's province-wide restorative justice programme for juveniles. Read it all.
Ellis E. Neder Jr. spent 10 years behind bars for engineering a massive Northeast Florida real estate scam prosecutors said helped bankrupt four lenders in the 1980s. He spent five more years paying toward his $25 million restitution and being supervised by federal probation officers. Now, two decades after his crimes, authorities want to send the former Jacksonville lawyer and developer back to prison. They say Neder, 64, violated the terms of his release by failing to repay all $25 million and by his involvement in land deals with felons he met in prison.
As federal probation violations go, Neder's are fairly minor. Most defendants that return to prison are there for failing a drug test or committing a new crime, defense lawyers said.
Still, Neder might have avoided his current legal problems if he could have come up with $33,900 last summer.
Neder had paid about $39,000 in restitution at that point, following a payment schedule his lawyer said the probation office set based on his monthly financial statements and ability to pay.
But as Neder neared the end of his term of supervision, probation officials determined he could have been paying more and assessed an additional $33,900. A judge agreed to terminate Neder's supervision as scheduled provided he made that payment.
It also would have meant an end to his $25 million restitution.
Stone said Neder tried unsuccessfully to raise the money even though he disagreed with the order... .
The probation office also dropped the $33,900 payment differential and instead said Neder didn't make payments to the best of his ability or pay the restitution in full.
In response, Stone noted the courts found Neder indigent enough before he went to prison to appoint him a lawyer. His circumstances haven't changed since his release.
"The court cannot enforce a condition ... that is impossible to perform," Stone said.
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