Securing Rights for Victims
A Process Evaluation of the National Crime Victim Law Institute's Victims' Rights Clinics
Published Dec 4, 2009
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Appendixes A, B, and C
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Clinics have dealt with a range of victims' rights issues in trial courts, including the rights to be present, to be consulted about plea offers, to make an impact statement, to be notified of changes in defendants' detention status, to restitution, and to privacy. However, the principal issue has been victims' standing before the court to enforce their rights. In some states, standing has been acknowledged, at least in limited ways. In other states, clinics have made or are making steps toward such recognition or have been successful in representing victims without the issue being directly confronted. In one state, attorneys' ability to represent victims in criminal court is currently in serious question. This book discusses how some clinics have won significant gains at the appellate and federal court levels concerning victim standing, the rights to be consulted and heard, and the right to privacy. The authors conclude that the state clinics are beginning to fulfill the intentions of their architects and funders. All of the clinics have pushed the envelope of victims' rights in their state courts. Some have won significant victories in gaining standing for victims and expanding the definition of particular rights. Others are enjoined in the battle. But all have raised awareness of victims' rights with prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and police officials.