Crime Victims’ Rights

July 22, 1994 • Volume 4, Issue 27
Do Victims Need New Laws and Protecions?
By Charles S. Clark

Introduction

Long ignored as the “forgotten people” of the criminal justice system, victims of crime are now organized and vocal. The families of crime victims, as well as the survivors themselves, are seeking new laws and state constitutional amendments guaranteeing victims the right to participate in legal proceedings — to attend trials, to make statements in court on a crime's personal impact and to comment at plea bargainings and parole hearings. Opponents warn of threats to defendants’ traditional presumption of innocence. Judges are wary of allowing emotionalism in their courtrooms, while prosecutors and police raise concerns about costs added to their heavy caseloads. Still, victims say that giving them an active role provides a needed catharsis and a chance to help in reducing crime.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Criminal Sentencing
Nov. 05, 2004  Sentencing Debates
May 10, 2002  Three-Strikes Laws
Feb. 12, 1999  Plea Bargaining
May 26, 1995  Mandatory Sentencing
Jul. 22, 1994  Crime Victims’ Rights
Jun. 14, 1974  Plea Bargaining
Feb. 13, 1937  Probation, Reformation, and Parole
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process