WASHINGTON, D.C. – During today’s House Judiciary Committee markup on H.R. 3530, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013, Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-District 8) introduced the Crime Victims Amendment, which was approved by a voice vote.
“This amendment provides that crime victims are informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement, and advised of their rights and the support services available to them under the law. When Congress passed the Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA), it intended to protect crime victims throughout the criminal justice process, from the investigative phases to the final conclusion of a case. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice takes the view that these rights do not arise without prosecutors choosing to file formal criminal charges. This is completely wrong. Properly understood, the CVRA does indeed extend crime victims’ rights during criminal investigations.
“This amendment also provides flexibility, if the parties agree, to the time clock for the courts of appeal to take up writs of mandamus. Lastly, the amendment would clarify the appellate standard of review applicable to existing procedures in the VCRA by which a crime victim can seek review of a denial of their rights. This would essentially establish a procedure where a crime victim can immediately appeal a denial of their rights by a trial court to the court of appeals.
“To quote President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, ‘In applying and interpreting the vital guarantees that protect all citizens, the criminal justice system has lost an essential balance….The victims of crime have been transformed into a group oppressively burdened by a system designed to protect them. This oppression must be redressed.'”