How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27450
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi again FranL. I met with the CA Tuesday and I am clear now

This answer was rated:

Hi again FranL. I met with the CA Tuesday and I am clear now about everything you were telling me. I can't thank you enough. His take was diffeent than what I expected in that he sees the Realtor as being the primary party. Then he said something about small claims court. I was interrupted thoughout our hour meeting by his phone. He was working on a death investigation - which made me feel I shouldn't be bothering him. Especially when he told me that in order to get damages for the intangilble losses I'd have to persue those through civil court.
The tangible loss is nothing compared to the avalanche of financial losses that followed as a direct result of the crime. How does one get justice when the criminal knows how and can affod to use the system to his benefit until the victim is rendered penniless - which is exactly what he has done?? The criminal court is my only hope, it seems, but it seems there is no real hope of getting justice for what I have lost - which includes my house - with no equity.
Is there any way I can gain justice? Our Legal Aid Attorneys are way overworked and behind. Can I go after both Bob and the Realtor in 2 separate cases to present in small claims' court?

I figured you'd likely come away from your meeting a bit disenchanted, if not disappointed, and I hope I gave you some preparation.

The botXXXXX XXXXXne in criminal matters is punishment, not money. If these charges are pursued aggressively as serious crimes, then the defendants go to prison. That suspends their income earning for the length of their sentences and can also wash them up professionally once they come out. So they pay off the restitution piecemeal. Or alternatively, the DA would be compelled to reduce the charges to misdemeanors or low level crimes and offer them a sentence of probation, which still has a deleterious effect on their ability to earn a living and doesn't give you any immediate satisfaction as to either financial relief or appropriate punishment.

The botXXXXX XXXXXne in civil court is money, and there is no one court that will handle both halves of this the way you'd like it to be done. The way to do this is to let the DA prosecute and then sue civilly as well. In Kentucky, small claims court where you can do this yourself without a lawyer will give you only as much as $2,500. You'd really need a lawyer to take him/them to regular civil court and be able to get the consequential damages.

Ours is not a perfect system. Realistically, you can get some of what you want, but probably not all. And if it's the intangibles, it belongs in civil court. The only thing a prosecution will do (and it is worth doing) is to bolster the civil suit. Because if they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to any of the charges, or even if they take a plea to lesser charges, the odds of the case going your way in Civil court where the burden favors you is very much enhanced.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You make everything very clear. The question I still have is based on no real knowledge, so please forgive my ignorance. When OJ was found innocent - Civil Court made perfect sense. But in the case of Conrad Murray, he was found guilty and his sentence included making restitution to the children for money Michael would have realized had he lived. The difference in Murray's case is that his crime was accidental and Bob's (my ex) was deliberate. When Bob's crime renders me penniless - as was his malicious intent - how else can I get the money to pursue a civil suit? The statute of Limitations on theft is 2 yrs - which will be July 2012. And who is really the primary party? Is it Bob for telling Pat to do it OR is it Pat for doing it?

The prosecutor has asked that Murray pay a staggering amount of restitution, but no decision on that has yet actually been made. And given that the doctor will be doing four years in prison and will be certain to lose his license, collection on that judgment will be protracted, to say the least.

But this begs the point. Every case has its own dynamics. The CA is in the best position to tell you what he can do for you within the parameters of a prosecution. As to a civil suit, you would have to see whether you could find a lawyer who would be interested in taking your case on contingency. That's an arrangement where you would pay filing fees and certain necessary expenses but the lawyer wouldn't take anything unless he won your trial or effected a settlement that was agreeable to yu. Then he'd get about 40% of your award.

Lawyers who take on contingency matters look closely at two factors: 1) whether it's a strong case for you that you could actually win; and 2) whether if you win it, the defendants have the money to pay the judgment. In the absence of either of those, you'll have a difficult time getting free representation.

I could not tell you who the primary party would be. If the CA says it's the realtor, I would trust his judgment. I haven't enough information to know.
Zoey_ JD and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you - just one last question. If a Realtor steals from the property he is selling and he disappears before charges are brought against him, is the Realty Company liable for reimbursement?

This is a question you're going to have to post separately to a civil lawyer. I really don't want to misinform you, as the answer is "it depends." A civil lawyer would be able to tell you with some specificity when that could/could not happen.

Sorry, but this has now gotten out of my bailiwick. Whatever you do, however, I hope it comes out in some way that gives you a great deal of the relief and the closure you're seeking.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
God Bless FranL you're Great! All the best to you and yours! Sincerely, Cheri
Thank you! And while I'm at it, best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All the same for Health and Happiness to you and yours FranL - Thanks again! You've given me a better sense of what I'm up against. Thanks to you and others at JA I feel little more empowered - a little more confident. I hope you won't mind if I contact you again. I am truly grateful for you! Take Care!
Any time! That's why we're here.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
A Big Grateful Hug from me to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I thought I had already accepted and left comments?? There is no accept button to choose now.
I want to be sure you get credit - what should I do??

When I post something as an Info Request, it doesn't display an Accept button. When I post as an answer, it does. I didn't want you to feel that you had to pay me again for thanking you and wishing you well.

I'll post this as an answer this time, but only because you asked for it. You don't have to pay for a response that isn't an answer to a legal question.
Zoey_ JD and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you