January 2020 Often times when you are charged with a crime, you are required to pay restitution. This can be difficult when you have bills to pay, face unemployment, or simply stretched thin. If you fell behind on your restitution payments, you could ultimately end up in jail. Luckily, the Supreme Judicial Court took all of things into consideration. When deciding Commonwealth v Henry, the SJC held that a judge must evaluate a criminal defendant’s financial circumstances before determining how much they should have to pay. In this case, Kim Henry was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in restitution, even though she had no home, no income and no job prospects. Ms. Henry was set up for failure when the judge ordered her to pay an amount she would never be able to come up with. The Court held that “burdening a defendant with these risks by imposing restitution that the defendant will be unable to pay violates the fundamental principle that a criminal defendant should not face additional punishment solely because of his or her poverty. This allows an attorney to look at your financial situation and get your restitution lowered, or even wiped completely clean.