This bill modifies procedures for the district attorney to present restitution evidence and establishes that economic damages will be presumed reasonable if the damages are documented as specified, creating a questionable practice that shouldn’t cost but it does, and can easily be falsified to cost more. [as amended]
Based on the last 2 years, the bill anticipates $141,063 this biennium, $1,024,879 in 2023-25, and $1,339, 175 in 2025-2027. This is a big price tag for taxpayers for a presumption that shouldn’t cost any additional funds.
ORS 137.146 establishes five levels of priority for application of payments on criminal judgments. Level I obligations have the highest level of priority and Level V obligations have the lowest priority. Currently, restitution is a Level II obligation in circuit and local court judgments. When a defendant is convicted of an offense that results in economic damages, the district attorney is required to present evidence of the nature and amount of the damages at the time of sentencing or within 90 days after entry of judgment. The 90 days may be extended for good cause. Recent Oregon Court of Appeals decisions have held that certain evidence is required to establish the amount of damages incurred by a victim is reasonable prior to ordering restitution. HB 4075A creates presumption that economic damages are reasonable if specified documentation of the damages is provided at a restitution proceeding. Specifies awards of restitution as Level I for priority of payment in criminal judgments in circuit and local courts. Presumption of reasonableness is a can of worms. Anyone can get estimates that are unreasonable and overbilling is common place.