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ACLU will oppose restitution changes

(AP) The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia says it is opposed to last week’s bipartisan deal that would raise Virginia’s felony theft threshold from $200 to $500 while also strengthening the state’s criminal restitution system.

The state ACLU said in a Feb. 12 statement that it, the Legal Aid Justice Center and several other organizations support the felony larceny threshold increase but oppose another part of the compromise designed to ensure criminals pay court-ordered restitution to crime victims.

The statement said defendants without the ability to pay restitution could be kept on probation indefinitely if the changes are adopted. It also said probation officers and judges would turn into “debt collectors.”

State Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran told the Daily Press lawmakers would have killed the felony threshold raise without the restitution changes.

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