Editorial: Pay the CLIP victims

A price was put on justice last week, and the city should make sure the bill is paid quickly.

The nine men who ran­sacked four North­east homes while pre­tend­ing to be clean­ing them un­der mu­ni­cip­al aus­pices got that bill in Judge Sandy Byrd’s court last Fri­day. The former em­ploy­ees of the city’s Com­munity Life Im­prove­ment Pro­gram owe more than $108,000 to vic­tims in Frank­ford, Somer­ton, Ta­cony and Tor­res­dale.

Or­din­ar­ily, such money is paid dur­ing the course of a sen­tence. Even though none of the guys got a max­im­um of more than three years in pris­on and five years pro­ba­tion, that still amounts to a long wait for the vic­tims. The losses they suffered already go back four or five years.

Some of the vic­tims are eld­erly, and a few of the de­fend­ants ain’t kids any­more either, so who will live to pay or be paid may be an in­del­ic­ate ques­tion, but a fair one non­ethe­less.

Much to her cred­it, As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Shar­on Piper last Fri­day asked Judge Byrd to or­der the city to find the money in the de­fend­ants’ city pen­sions. Much to his cred­it, the judge agreed the vic­tims should be­ne­fit from the de­fend­ants’ loss.

But that’s only if the city’s Law De­part­ment re­com­mends the city’s pen­sion board with­hold those pen­sions. That’s shouldn’t be a big if.  The city should go after the de­fend­ants’ pen­sions quickly. Now is a great time to start.

There’s no doubt los­ing their pen­sions would hurt the de­fend­ants. Fine. But this really is about resti­tu­tion, not re­tri­bu­tion. For the vic­tims, none of them plat­in­um-plated mil­lion­aires, resti­tu­tion is the real justice.  ull;•

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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