IADC member Bonnie Mayfield of Dykema Gossett, which is officed in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, co-led a team that obtained, after a federal district court evidentiary hearing, an award of nearly $225,000 in restitution in favor of a pro bono client who was a victim of human trafficking. The award compensates the victim, who was a minor at the time of the crime, for several years of physical and mental abuse. The trafficker, who is currently imprisoned for these and other crimes and who is appealing the award, initially began communicating with the victim as part of an immigration scam.
To secure the victory, the Dykema team employed their knowledge of the federal crime victim laws, specifically the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, which was accompanied by expert testimony and extensive briefing. They also relied upon the evidentiary hearing and trial experience of Dykema’s National Trial Team, a group of experienced trial lawyers who have taken over 650 cases, in all areas of legal practice, to verdict. Mayfield is a member of Dykema’s National Trial Team and said, “This particular case required us to successfully handle emergent trial-related issues concerning expert witnesses and production of evidence.”
This is a significant restitution award against human trafficking. IADC members should know that the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act empower human trafficking and crime victims whose perpetrators violate federal law with various rights, including the rights to counsel, to be present and heard, and to request financial restitution from their perpetrators. An individual may also present a formal victim impact statement, which can include a request regarding an appropriate sentence.