A federal appeals court ruled that a wWhite restaurant proprietor who pressured an intellectually handicapped Black man into slave labor owes over $500,000 in restitution, double the quantity originally levied by a decrease district court.
Bobby Paul Edwards, 56, pleaded guilty to a count of forced labor, had been sentenced in 2019 to a decade in prison and ordered by pay restitution of approximately $273,000. That sum represented unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation owed to John Christopher Smith (referred to in the ruling as”Jack”), that Edwards”effectively enslaved” by compelling him to work at J&J Cafeteria at South Carolina”over 100 hours a week without cover” for over five decades.
But a three-judge panel to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overdue month unanimously ruled that the district court erred in just ordering the repayment of wages without adding”an additional equal quantity” in the form of liquidated damages. Even the Circuit Court vacated the ruling and remanded the case back down to the lower court for recalculation of twice the initial restitution purchased, or $546,000.
As mentioned previously by Law&Crime, Edwards left Smith’s life a living hell later taking over the restaurant at 2009. Once Edwards came stopped committing Smith, who beginning working at J&J part-time in 1990 at age 12 and has an intellectual impairment as well as an IQ of about 70. He beat him with a belt. He struck him. He struck him pots and pans. He burned his neck with hot tongs that was dipped in dirt.
This bodily abuse was supposed to punish Smith for errors or to make him work faster, prosecutors said, and it lasted until police received a complaint from Geneane Caines, whose daughter-in-law functioned at J&J, and Adult Protective Services stepped in to assist in October 2014.
“I felt as though I was in jail. Most of the time I felt unsafe, such as Bobby could kill me if he wanted,” Smith said of his living conditions under Edwards. “I wanted to get out of that place so bad but couldn’t consider the way I could without being hurt”
The court concluded that under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the failure to pay an employee minimum wage and overtime at real time means that worker does not just lose out to the owed wages, but also”the reduction of the use of that money during the time of delay”
“So completely compensating the worker requires accounting for losses against the delay. These extra losses can, in part, be paid by curiosity,” Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer wrote for the court.
“Truly it might be inconsistent with the TVPA’s necessity of providing restitution at’the full amount of the victim’s losses’ not to compensate a victim for losses incurred as a consequence of the delay in paying required wages and overtime payment. And failing to compensate for delay would be particularly egregious in this case, where Jack wasn’t paid for many decades.”
Read the entire ruling below.
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