Q: My son was convicted of burglary with 2 others and their restitution is combined. Is there a way to get it separated? It is understandable that they should pay all restitution. I have no problem with that. With the combined restitution there is no incentive to pay more on the fine and get it paid off, if the other 2 just pay the minimum. Is there a way to modify this, so he can get his paid off, and if one of the others dies, he can then again be held liable along with the other remaining person. With this being as is, my son is not serving a 2 to 8 sentence he received. It is more or less a life sentence. Just seems to me the system is set up to make you fail, instead of doing your sentence and fulfill your obligations to society. Would be nice to get something like this amended so he can try to move forward. Any advice would be appreciated thank you.
A: Restitution, if not paid at sentencing and apportioned between the defendants, in most counties is ordered to be paid jointly and severally with other co-defendants to maximize the chance of it actually getting paid. Joint and several means they are all responsible to pay the full amount to the extent it remains unpaid by the other participants. The victim is likely out property or had to pay to have his or her building or structure repaired. The victim also may have loss more than just property, like his or her sense of security and safety. Thus, judges are unlikely to divide up restitution between the participants because the victim might not get paid in that situation. Too much time has passed to have an attorney file a written motion to modify sentence. The only way in my opinion that a restitution order could be changed would be by agreement of the victim and the DA. I don’t know the facts here, anything is possible. This would generally be difficult to accomplish. So, for now, your son should do his best to pay the restitution to help make the victim whole and avoid a parole violation.