RS 46:1809     

§1809. Criteria for making awards; prohibitions; authority to deny or reduce awards

            A. The board shall order the payment of reparations in an amount determined by it if, with or without hearings, it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that pecuniary loss was sustained by the victim or other claimant by reason of personal injury, death, or catastrophic property loss suffered by the victim and that such loss was proximately caused by a crime enumerated in R.S. 46:1805 and that such pecuniary loss has or will not be compensated from any collateral or other source.

            B. In making its determination, the following provisions shall apply:

            (1) A finding by the board, for purposes of considering an application for award under this Chapter, that the commission of a crime enumerated in R.S. 46:1805(A) resulted in a pecuniary loss covered by this Chapter shall be a sufficient finding with respect to the crimes giving rise to the application for a reparations award. However, the board may make a partial eligibility determination on an application prior to the incurring of a pecuniary loss by the victim or other claimant. An order for reparations may be made whether or not any person is arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of the crime giving rise to the application for reparations. The board may suspend proceedings in the interest of justice if a civil or criminal action arising from such act or omission constituting the crime is pending or imminent.

            (2) Conviction of an offender of a crime giving rise to the application for reparations under this Chapter shall be conclusive evidence that the crime was committed.

            (3)(a) No award of reparations shall be made if the board finds that:

            (i) The crime was not reported within the time specified by R.S. 46:1806(A).

            (ii) The claimant failed or refused to cooperate substantially with the reasonable requests of appropriate law enforcement officials.

            (iii) Reparations may substantially enrich the offender.

            (iv) The claimant was the offender or an accessory, or that an award to the claimant would unjustly benefit any of them. However, such ineligibility shall not apply if the claimant is a victim of human trafficking or trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

            (v) The claim was not filed timely, as provided by R.S. 46:1806(A) and (B).

            (vi) The crime was committed prior to the effective date of this Chapter.

            (b) The ineligibility provisions provided for in Items (a)(i) and (ii) of this Paragraph shall not apply if the claim for reparations results from a sexually-oriented criminal offense.

            (4) The board may deny or reduce an award:

            (a) If it finds that the behavior of the victim at the time of the crime giving rise to the claim was such that the victim bears some measure of responsibility for the crime that caused the physical injury, death, or catastrophic property loss or for the physical injury, death, or catastrophic property loss. However, such ineligibility shall not apply if the claimant is a victim of a human trafficking-related offense as defined by R.S. 46:1805 or a sexually-oriented criminal offense as defined by R.S. 15:622.

            (b) To the extent that the pecuniary loss is recouped from collateral or other sources.

            (c) If it finds that the vehicle operated by the victim was without security as required by R.S. 32:861.

            (d) If it finds that the victim was not wearing a safety belt in compliance with R.S. 32:295.1.

            (e) If it finds that the victim was a willing passenger in a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft that was operated by an individual who was in violation of R.S. 14:98 or 98.1.

            (5) No reparations of any kind shall be awarded under this Chapter to a victim who is injured or killed while confined in any state, parish, or city jail, prison, or other correctional facility as a result of a conviction of any crime. However, if, prior to a conviction, the victim was injured or killed while incarcerated, the board may deny reparations if it is subsequently determined that the victim was guilty of the offense which resulted in his incarceration.

            C. No victim or dependent shall be denied reparations solely because he or she is a relative of the offender or was living with the offender at the time of the injury or death. However, reparations may be awarded to a victim or dependent who is a relative, family or household member of the offender at the time of the award only if it can be reasonably determined that the offender will receive no substantial economic benefit or unjust enrichment from the award.

            D.(1) When a victim applies for the recovery of restitution pursuant to R.S. 46:1806(F) the board shall order the payment of the restitution to the victim if all of the following conditions apply:

            (a) The board determines that an offender was ordered to pay restitution to the victim as a condition of the offender's release on parole pursuant to R.S. 15:574.4.2(C)(1)(a).

            (b) The restitution payments were directed to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund pursuant to R.S. 15:574.4.2(C)(1)(b).

            (2) When the board orders payment pursuant to the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the provisions of Subsections A and B of this Section regarding criteria for and determinations of eligibility for reparations and determinations of the amount of reparations do not apply.

            E. No victim or claimant shall be denied or otherwise deemed ineligible for reparations pursuant to this Chapter, nor shall any award for reparations pursuant to this Chapter be reduced, on the basis that the victim or claimant has any conviction or adjudication of delinquency, on the basis that the victim or claimant is currently on probation or parole, or on the basis that the victim or claimant has previously served any sentence of incarceration, probation, or parole unrelated to the offense for which reparations would otherwise be awarded pursuant to this Chapter.

            Added by Acts 1982, No. 250, §1, eff. July 17, 1982. Acts 1983, No. 162, §1; Acts 1985, No. 542, §1; Acts 1989, No. 255, §1; Acts 1990, No. 512, §1; Acts 1991, No. 409, §2; Acts 1995, No. 421, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1296, §6, eff. July 15, 1997; Acts 2012, No. 446, §4; Acts 2014, No. 564, §4; Acts 2015, No. 229, §4, eff. June 23, 2015; Acts 2017, No. 53, §2; Acts 2019, No. 418, §1.