Restitution “TBD by the Probation Officer”

May a judge delegate to a probation officer the task of setting the amount of restitution owed to a victim? For several reasons, my standard answer to that recurring question is no. The main reason for my answer is the restitution statutes themselves. The law says that restitution should be ordered “when sentencing a defendant,” … Read more


Our appellate courts spend a lot of time writing about restitution. Consequently, so do I. Prior posts discuss some of the thornier restitution issues that come up from time to time. There’s this one on restitution for drug-buy money; this one on restitution to victims of unconvicted conduct; this one on restitution to government agencies; … Read more

Restitution for Drug-Buy Money

Back in March I wrote a post on restitution to government agencies, setting out the general rule in G.S. 15A-1340.37(c) that “[n]o government agency shall benefit by way of restitution except for particular damage or loss to it over and above normal operating costs . . . .” I mentioned in that post that I would write … Read more

Restitution to Victims of Unconvicted Conduct

Can a defendant be ordered to pay restitution based on offenses that did not result in a conviction? Of course a defendant should not be ordered to pay restitution for a charge on which he or she was acquitted. State v. Bass, 53 N.C. App. 40 (1981) (restitution order for alleged food stamp overpayments was … Read more

Restitution to Governmental Agencies

Last month the court of appeals decided State v. Mauer, an animal cruelty case. The defendant, Barbara Mauer, was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals after Cumberland County animal control officers found at least 15 to 20 cats living in deplorable conditions in her house. The floor of the house was covered with cat urine … Read more

News Roundup

Update: It has come to my attention that there may be a bit more to the AOC restitution story than meets the eye. This memo from Judge John Smith, the director of the AOC, provides a bit of explanation for why the restitution priorities were set as they were, and to what extent the General … Read more