Victims' Rights

Many laws seem to focus on the rights of accused criminals:  the right to fair trial, trial by jury, right to silence, etc…  Even Criminal Law class in Law School focuses on the rights of the accused.  This present proposal is not intended to take away from those rights, but rather to create Constitutional rights to the victims of crime (the people generally forgotten by the legal system). 

As far as the legal system is concerned, the victim is a witness for the prosecution seeking a conviction;  after that, then what?  Is the victim merely a forgotten statistic?  This present proposal will not remedy the problem, but at least there will be a place in the Constitution declaring that Parliament shall pass laws to effectuate the rights of victims of crime.

John Z Apr 6, 2015

This concept has little global precedent as victims are generally the forgotten person in the crime (sadly).  In the first stage, I specified some items that I would include under this proposal.  I ask this crowd if they would add or subtract from the below.  I personally think that the below is not enough, please give me your thoughts:

+.  The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

+.  The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.

+.  The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.

+.  The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.

+.  The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.

+.  The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.

+.  The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

+.  The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

+.  The prosecutor shall advise the crime victim that the crime victim can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to the rights. 

 +.  Notice of release otherwise required pursuant to this chapter shall not be given if such notice may endanger the safety of any person.

Ian Smith Apr 17, 2015

John,

I hope that you do not mind me anglicising and tweaking your great idea a little.  Here goes:

'All victims* of crime have the following rights in relation to criminal investigations and prosecutions pursuant to complaints made by the victim:

+.  The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

+.  The right to be informed about the progress of an investigation or prosecution of their complaint.

+.  The right to judicially review any decision by public prosecutors not to prosecute a person accused by a victim of crime.

+.  The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding (including the right to know what charges have been levelled against accused persons), or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.

+.  The right that any proceedings brought against an accused and in which a victim gives evidence be free from unreasonable delay.

+.  The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and cogent evidence, determines that testimony by the victim or any other witness would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.

+.  The reasonable right to confer with the lawyer for the public prosecutor in the case.

+.  The right to obtain independent legal advice and make representations to the court concerning compensation or restitution and the personal impact of the crime on the victim.

+.  The right to full and timely compensation or restitution awards as provided in law - whether from an accused person or the state - and for those awards to be enforced by the state.

+.  The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

+.  The prosecutor shall advise the crime victim that the crime victim can seek the advice of a lawyer with respect to these rights.

* "Victims" includes complainants as well as those who have been judged to be victims'

John Z Apr 17, 2015

No problem, I understand that there is a language barrier.

Ian Smith Apr 17, 2015

Dear All,

Please see my suggested refinements to John's excellent idea.

Kind regards,

Ian

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