Restitution and the Dallas County
District Attorney's Office

Chris Jenkins, Victim Assistance Coordinator
Dallas County

The Dallas County Criminal District Attorney's Office takes seriously its responsibility to Crime Victims' Compensation (CVC). We have put in place several measures to help inform and, when appropriate, reimburse CVC. The Restitution Notices that CVC sends to our office each week are forwarded to the prosecutors assigned to the respective cases by the Victim Witness Division with a reminder to inform CVC if the victim is no longer cooperative. The prosecutors, in turn, use the notices in two ways: (1) If they are unable to locate a victim, a call to CVC gives them the victim's most recent contact information, which many times is new information to the prosecutor and the Victim Witness Division; or (2) if a victim has received funds to pay hospital bills, our prosecutors will ask the judge to include that amount in the judgment requiring reimbursement to CVC as restitution.

Other measures are taken by the five advocates in the Family Violence Division, who take appointments for victims wishing to sign an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution (ANP). We have added wording to the ANP that states, "I understand that by making this request, I not only give up any right I may have to future Crime Victims' Compensation, I also may be liable to the State of Texas for any monies already paid on my behalf out of the crime victim's fund." Once a week I pull the appointment books for the five advocates and look up each victim to see if she/he has applied for or already received funds from CVC. If the person keeps her/his appointment and signs the affidavit, I forward a copy of that ANP to CVC. In this way CVC is kept informed of those victims no longer cooperating with the State. In such cases the "victim" usually takes the position that no crime has been committed and therefore, they are not a victim. If the victim has already received funds, they are informed that CVC will need to be reimbursed. At times, once notified that CVC must be reimbursed, the victim no longer chooses to drop the charges. One woman was so insistent about dropping charges, she brought in a cashier's check to reimburse CVC. Of course, if the victim is signing under duress, I will also inform CVC of that special condition.