Published on: Friday, October 13, 2017

On October 12, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled FEDERAL CRIMINAL RESTITUTION: Factors to Consider for a Potential Expansion of Federal Courts’ Authority to Order Restitution.  The report was mandated by the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016, which required the GAO to conduct a review of factors that should be considered when broadening restitution provisions in federal law.  The report considers factors related to expanding restitution for various potential expansion provisions, such as (1) “restitution for related conduct and no proximate cause requirement;” (2) “restitution to restore victims to their position had the offense not been committed;” and, (3) “restitution for any injury, harm, or loss, including emotional distress.”  Acccording to the GAO, expanding restitution may raise constituional due process concerns, increase complexity and litigation costs related to sentencing, and result in less restituiton for victims, at least in some potential expansion areas.  The GAO’s one-page highlight of the report is available here.