About 8 months ago my step son (16 at the time) was involved in a theft ring. He was arrested and pled out to three individual thefts. As part of the plea he was ordered to pay fines, cost, and restitution through the court. As we were not married at the time, his mother set up a payment plan with the court and began making payments. As “I” understand it the monies were applied to the court cost first, fines second and the restitution was made last so as the other conspirators could be processed (4 and possibly a fifth), although the plea stated restitution to be made in 10 days. By the terms of the plea he is held jointly and singularly for the total amount of the restitution (basically if no one else pays we have to pay it all, I get that). We have been in regular contact with the court and have had no issues with the payments made thus far. As of today one of the others has pled out to basically the same terms and two others have trials pending.
Now one of the victims has filed a civil complaint (small claims court) against his mother (son not listed). The claim is for the amount of restitution, with the juvenile court order as their proof. I have no issues with the amount owed. I may have an issue with who is owed. I do have issue with who pays the victim (disperses the monies). I spoke to the probation officer who said to keep making payments to the court regardless of the filing and just take the court order and our receipts to the Small claims court. That it should be tossed out since they already have a restitution order. But they could come back for additional monies not in the restitution order. Sounds to easy to me, so I have a few questions;
1) I have good reason to believe that the victims insurance paid out. Thus any claim for that amount would be from them and not the victim. But I have no way to verify this. Do I? How could one find this out prior to the court date (small claims no evidentiary process)? We have a no contact order, even if they would say.
2) The Juvenile court order says restitution is to be paid through the court. As payments are made they (the court) decides who gets what (split between three victims as received) we have no control over that process. Can the victim use the civil court to expedite / circumvent the repayment process? If so what do we do about the Juvenile court plea and or any over payments?
3) As stated there are multiple conspirators and multiple victims. Would a person making a claim have to enjoin all the conspirators (as I understand Ohio law) for the claim to be legit?
4) If we do end up paying the full amount to the victim(s), which we likely will, do we have recourse with the other conspirators?
5) This victim was informed by the court that they were to address any repayment through them, the Juvenile Court, after several harassing phone calls to our home violating a no contact order (yes they work both ways). Not that I have an interest in doing anything about it, would this be considered a continuation of violating that order?
Like I said I am not challenging the damage amount or fact we (she as the step son is a juvenile) are responsible. I am just trying to get a handle on what the legal processes are so that we (mother and step dad) are not the recipients of a personal vendetta unrelated to the juvenile’s crime. As this victim has made statements about using this to punishing his mother for personal reasons not related to the crime. I won’t divulge those reasons as they have no bearing on this matter. But they do seem to believe they can collect the full amount from both step son (through criminal court) and mom (through civil court). In effect recovering double the actual damages.