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;•
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