I had a telephone call from a woman who had her car stolen. It was recovered yesterday. Since she couldn't be reached, the police had it towed to an impound lot, as is the usual procedure.
There's a $150 charge for the owner to get the car back in these cases. (Seems wrong to me, but the City won't pay the private tow truck drivers and after all, it is the owner's car that's being protected, not mine.) The owner wanted to have the defendant pay the fee, but it's a little early in the process for that. Of course if he had $150 he'd be out on bail, he wouldn't waste it on restitution.
I explained all that, and she hung up.
A few minutes later I came back into the office and I heard my day wife on the telephone half way through the same explanation, obviously to the same upset citizen. As I had done, I told her that it seemed unfair to me, and that if convicted the thief would be ordered to pay the fee as restitution.
She then explained, as I had not, that an order and actual payment were two different things, and that more often than not restitution was never paid.
Then she was silent, as the owner spoke for a minute. And then my day wife said.
"Well, I guess that's why they call it victim."
I thought I was the cold one!
I remarked on it later, and she said, "I said with a smile!"
"It wasn't a web cam, she can't see through the wire."
"You know what I meant. If bad things didn't happen to victims, they wouldn't come to court."