Securing Rights for Victims

A Process Evaluation of the National Crime Victim Law Institute's Victims' Rights Clinics

by Robert C. Davis, James M. Anderson, Julie Whitman, Susan Howley

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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.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Development of Crime Victims' Rights in the United States

  • Chapter Three

    National Crime Victim Law Institute and Clinic Goals

  • Chapter Four

    Victims' Rights Developments in Clinic States

  • Chapter Five

    Clinic Operations

  • Chapter Six

    Outreach and Sources of Clients

  • Chapter Seven

    Clinic Work in Trial Courts

  • Chapter Eight

    Clinic Work at the Appellate Level

  • Chapter Nine

    Implementation Challenges

  • Chapter Ten

    Clinic Successes and Promising Practices

  • Chapter Eleven

    Conclusions and Recommendations

The research described in this report was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and was conducted under the auspices of the Safety and Justice Program of RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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