United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Criminal Procedure – appeal – intervention
A crime victim awarded restitution can intervene in an appeal.
“The complications of intervention are many fewer at the appellate stage, where participation is limited to filing briefs and, at the appellate court’s discretion, participating in oral argument, which we permitted in this case. The Criminal Victims’ Rights Act allows a crime victim whose claim of restitution is denied to seek mandamus in the court of appeals, 18 U.S.C. § 3771(d)(3), but makes no provision for participation by a victim who has been successful in the district court. Suppose the government declines to defend the restitution award when the award is challenged by the defendant in his appeal from his sentence. The case for intervention is most compelling when a person has a direct financial stake in a case and cannot be certain that any party has an interest in defending that stake. The government has no financial stake in restitution to victims of crime. And judicial power to allow intervention at the appellate level can be exercised in a case such as this without causing the problems that intervention in the district court would cause—indeed without causing any problems at all that we can see.”
Affirmed in part, and Vacated in part.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Lozano, J., Posner, J.