Criminal Law and Procedures
Research victims’ rights in several different states. Compare and contrast the victims’ rights in the different states. Critique the different rights and identify which are most important. (3 – 4 pages, Time New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced). Two scholarly journal articles should be included as references
Criminal Law and Procedures
Legal rights that victims of crime are accorded are referred to as victims’ rights. The victims’ rights include the right to an advocate, the right to restitution, the right not to be excluded from criminal justice proceedings, the right to notification, the right to consult an attorney, and the right to speak during a criminal justice proceeding among others. the legislation that protects the rights of victims was passed by all states and the majority have also passed constitutional amendments that can protect these crime victims. These rights defer from state to state since there are some which apply to victims of felony offenses only and others apply to victims of less serious misdemeanor offenses.
Some of the common victim’s rights in different states are the right to be treated with respect and dignity, the right to protection, the right to seek compensation from a states’ victims fund, The right to be informed about the prosecution, plea offers, court proceedings, and sentencing, the right to make a statement in court at the time of sentencing, the right to restitution from the offender, the right to return of the personal property, and the right to be informed of parole proceedings or release from incarceration, and the right to make a statement to the parole board, the right to enforcement of victim’s rights among others.
There are victims’ right officers or various people who help the victims of crime during and after a prosecution in different offices of the prosecuting attorneys (National Criminal Justice Reference Service). Any victim of crime seeking restitution or compensation is supposed to give a claim in time for compensation to the prosecuting attorney or the department of probation and documentation supporting that claim to make sure that the restitution order contains the amount in a case where the defendant is sentenced. Thirty-five states issue the victim’s right to attend proceedings regarding criminal justice and twenty-four of the states protect the right to attend criminal justice proceedings.
Every state has a place in court which considers the impact of information given by a victim during sentencing. Forty-one states give room to victims in making oral statements at hearings. The victim impact information is virtually required by all the states as a presentence report. The court is required to consider the information in sentencing decisions by at least half of the states. Alabama’s victims’ rights include the right to be present in all the court proceedings, right to refuse a request for an interview by a defendant, right to information before sentence, right to investigative report before a sentence, right to have belongings or property returned among others.
The Virginia victims’ rights provided by the victim service unit include advocacy, notification of changes in case of an inmate transfer, name change, capture, and escape as well as the date of release. The victim has the right to an explanation of the probation and parole supervision process, right to education, training, and public awareness initiatives (National Criminal Justice Reference Service). The victim service unit has to provide victims with constant support, referrals, crisis intervention, and information. the victims also have the right to protection, a speedy trial The right to notification enables victims to stay appraised of events happening within their cases.
In California, some of the victims’ rights include the rights to fair and respectful treatment, a right to privacy and dignity, a right to freedom from acts like intimidation, harassment, and abuse during a juvenile or criminal justice system. The victims also have the right to be protected from either the defendant or any person acting in place of the defendant. The victim has the right to safety including that of their family which is considered in placing the amount of bail and the conditions under which the defendant is released. The right to privacy of the victim is also one of them. The victim has the right to be protected from disclosure of delicate information to the defendant, his attorney, or a person acting on behalf of the defendant.
The most important victims’ rights include, first, the rights to attend. The victims together with their families are given the right to have themselves present during the proceedings (International Assoc of Chiefs of Police, & United States of America, 2020). For those victims who like seeing their criminal justice at work, the right means a lot to them. Second is the right to compensation. The government program designed to reimburse those victims of violent crimes is the crime victim compensation. The affected family member or the surviving ones are eligible for limited compensation. It is applied in the state where the crime occurred.
The third is the right to be informed. General information of interest should be provided to victims by the criminal justice system. In most of the states, the families of the victims are given the right to be notified of any important, scheduled criminal proceedings and the results of the proceedings. The forth is the right to privacy since privacy concerns have been an issue to victims during the process of criminal justice. The victims are often harassed or retaliated from offenders who get to learn their names and location through public records or court testimonies which deter them from obtaining justice.
The fifth is the right to protection where most of the states give victims of crime the right to protection during the process of criminal justice. The right takes a generally stated right to protection form or involves particular protective measures. The victim has to be informed of the procedure available in protecting them. The sixth is the right to restitution which refers to the right to restoration of any kind of harm caused by the defendant. Restitution is commonly in form of payment for damages which can also be termed as the act of returning or repairing stolen or damaged property.
The desirability of rights for the accused has been accepted well across the states. Recently there has been an emergence of the rights to victim’s discourse. Before exploration of the extent to which victims’ rights, the outset that politicians and policymakers’ tendency tend to adopt a couched language based on the terminology of the right to victims (Kirchengast, 2016). The notion then departs from that of legal rights, meaning it could be enforced through the justice system. There are no rights that protect victims from remaining in custody after an arrest, the moment in between an arrest and the hearing in court, and cross-examination of victims by the council responsible.
In conclusion, some of the victims still get denied their rights to be part of the justice system by participating in one way or another. most of the laws concerning victims’ rights fail to be implemented. Again, the majority of these states have failed to enact reforms that are fundamental like putting the victim into pretrial release decisions which is an important act like victim protection from harm and intimidation, granting of bail and rights for victims of juvenile offenders which are comprehensive. Other reforms include consulting victims before plea agreements by prosecutors. The strong legal protection makes a huge difference but even in some states where there is strong legal protection, there are those victims that are denied their rights.
(n.d.). National Criminal Justice Reference Service | NCJRS. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/173839.pdf
(n.d.). National Criminal Justice Reference Service | NCJRS. https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/directions/pdftxt/chap1.pdf
International Assoc of Chiefs of Police, & United States of America. (2020). Victims’ Rights Jurisdiction Profiles.
Kirchengast, T. (2016). Enforceable rights for victims of crime in adversarial justice.