Florida Court Discusses Restitution in Criminal Matters

When a person is convicted of a crime, the court will often not only sentence them to prison but also require them to make restitution. Criminal defendants and the state frequently disagree over what constitutes reasonable recompense, however. This was illustrated in a recent child pornography case in Florida, where the defendant challenged a $10,000 reparation award to the victim. If you’ve been charged with a child pornography crime, it is in your best interest to speak with a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

According to reports, the defendant was found guilty of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to pay $10,000 in compensation to the victim of his crime after his conviction. He filed an appeal, claiming that the amount of compensation awarded did not accurately reflect his role in the victim’s injury, and requesting a new hearing on the restitution decision. The defendant’s request was denied by the appellate court, which upheld the lower court’s decision.

Restitution in Criminal Matters

The amount of restitution awarded in a child pornography case will be reviewed by an appellate court for an abuse of discretion. A district court would misuse its discretion if it applied an inappropriate legal standard, made manifestly erroneous factual findings, or followed faulty processes, according to the appellate court. However, an appellate court will defer to a lower court’s finding that the relevant elements, taken together, justify a restitution award, and will not reverse an award unless the trial court made a manifest mistake in judgment.

A defendant convicted of a child pornography felony must pay restitution under federal law. The defendant is required by law to pay the full amount of a victim’s damages, which includes the expense of psychological and medical care, as well as any other harm sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the subject offense. While a defendant is solely liable for the injury he or she produces proximally, viewing pornography has been found to inflict proximate harm to victims since it magnifies the harm caused by the original abusive acts.

Following the determination of proximate cause, the amount of restitution must correspond to the defendant’s role in the causative process that resulted in the victim’s losses, which is decided by a variety of variables. However, before establishing the losses caused by the possessor, the court does not have to compute the victim’s losses caused by the original producer of the pornography. The trial court had presented sufficient factual evidence to justify its restitution decision, according to the appellate court. As a result, the award was upheld.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

A conviction for a child pornography crime can have lasting consequences, therefore it is critical for anyone accused of committing such offenses to speak to an attorney regarding their potential defenses. The seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law take pride in fighting to protect the rights of people accused of unlawful activity, and if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us via the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a conference.