In our court system, victims come in last!
Over the many years that I have been editor and publisher of this newspaper and have printed many court stories of people that have broken the law and have left honest people with a loss of some kind, property or momentary, and the court levees some sort of repayment to the victim.
But in most cases the restitution to the victim comes only after the state sentence and fine and court costs have been satisfied. It is my belief that the victim should have their losses restored first and then the state satisfied last.
A number of years ago one of my sons had his snowmobile taken and when it was found it was damaged beyond repair. I have to complement the Sheriff’s departments in Dunn and Chippewa Counties for finding it and the person that took it. The court ordered the person to repay my son for the value of the machine, but in the end he got only about half of what was ordered and the person was free to go.
Last week in the Town of Glenwood, an accident occurred where an auger on a feed truck struck a high voltage power line and the driver of the truck was injured and is still hospitalized. I have been informed that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is investigating the accident. If I can guess what they will do from previous accidents that have happened in our area, OSHA will level some sort of fine against the owner of the feed truck and that money will go into the public coffers.
I would not even blink an eye if the fine money was paid to the victim or the victim’s family, but the public coffers get paid as the victim suffers?
Another thing that I can’t figure out is that a local teacher is in county jail charged with a sex crime over exchanging pictures with an underage girl in another state. His bond was set at $100,000. But for a New Richmond man that shot and killed his son, his bond is only $25,000.
I know someone will tell me that I don’t understand how the criminal justice system works. You know, they will be right, because I don’t. But I feel that victims need to be restored their loss.
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton