Apr 2, 2010

MCVRC Attorney Lauren Tabackman Fights for Victims

Examiner Staff Writer
April 2, 2010

A Maryland appeals court has rejected the state's offer of $213.87 to a former inmate who lost his right eye after he was attacked by another inmate.

Instead, the Court of Special Appeals ruled, Marco Neal should be paid $25,000 -- the maximum amount for his injury -- from the state's Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

Neal, a former Prince George's County resident, was sleeping in a pre-release center in Jessup when he was attacked, court records show. His right eye was injured during the attack and later had to be removed, records show.

Neal's rap sheet includes multiple convictions for drugs and theft. His attorney, Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center staff attorney Lauren Tabackman, declined to say why Neal was in prison while he was assaulted.

But Tabackman said the reason why Neal was in prison is besides the point, and that Neal was a victim of a crime and was required to be fairly compensated.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which administers the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, declined to comment on the case.

The board argued in court that Neal's disability was only temporary, because it had not affected his future earning potential. Instead, it ruled that Neal was due the $213.87 because the injury had sidelined him from his work-release employment for three weeks.

A Prince George's County Circuit Court judge agreed with the board, before the appeals court changed the ruling.

"It was too low, obviously," Tabackman said. She said the court's ruling would help future victims get their fair share from the state's compensation fund.

The General Assembly established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in 1968 as a way to help repay innocent victims affected by crimes. The fund has paid out more than $100 million, including more than $6.5 million in fiscal 2009. Revenues are generated through court fees.


Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/State-offer-of-_213-for-lost-eye-rejected-by-appeals-court-89730602.html#ixzz0jxtmtDG8