Restitution can help make victim ‘whole’ again

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Circuit Clerk's Office/Paulita Keith

 Restitution is the act of making a person “whole”. 

There are many cases in which restitution may be ordered. 

Cases involving a victim of a crime whose property has been damaged, stolen, unlawfully obtained, converted, or caused to substantially decrease in value may receive court-ordered restitution. 

If a victim has incurred medical expenses, direct out-of-pocket expenses, or loss-of-earnings as a direct result of the crime, restitution may be ordered.  

A victim incurring expenses in relocating for the purpose of the victim’s safety or the safety of a member of the victim’s household may also be awarded restitution.

Pursuant to KRS 533.030, where the court has ordered the defendant to make restitution payments, the Circuit Clerk is required to assess an additional 5 percent fee to defray the state’s costs incurred in collecting the restitution. 

This legal requirement creates much confusion since the defendant knows he/she owes court costs, restitution, and other fees and fines but does not realize the additional 5 percent fee will be assessed. 

Since this is the responsibility of the Clerk’s office, the restitution fee is not always stated in the judge’s order.

Restitution can be difficult to monitor due to many factors including the fact that payments may be spread over a long period of time and victims move and fail to notify the court of their new address. 

Since taking office, we have focused our efforts on reviewing the restitution owed to victims and requesting/obtaining current addresses on them. 

We have worked with local law enforcement agencies, the County Attorney’s office and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to make every effort to update our records and issue restitution payments to the victims for whom we have collected money. 

If you are a victim or know of a victim who should be receiving court-ordered restitution and you or they have not received any payments, please stop by our office at 250 Frank E. Simon Avenue in Shepherdsville and complete a records update form so that we can appropriately research this issue for you. 

We will need the defendant’s name (the person who should be paying the restitution), the victim’s name, the victim’s current address, the victim’s phone number or the best way to reach the victim and preferred method to receive payment (regular mail to the address provided or victim will pick up).  Once we receive the applicable information and research the case, if payment has been received by our office, it will be paid to the victim.  If payment has not been received, the victim will be notified. 

It is important to note that we are required to verify the victim’s address before changing it in our system so verification will need to be provided. 

Acceptable forms of verification include a driver’s license, utility bill, or current piece of postmarked mail. 

If you are unable to stop by our office, you may send the required information to us at the following address:  Paulita A. Keith, Bullitt Circuit Court Clerk, Attention:  Bookkeeping, P.O. Box 746, Shepherdsville, KY  40165.

If you have any questions, you may call our office at 502-543-7104 or 502-955-7764 and press 5 for the Bookkeeping office or 1000 to speak with me.