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Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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Crime Victims Rights


“Even in states with a victims’ rights constitutional amendment,
the overall protection of victims is varied and uneven.
In addition, without federal constitutional protection, victims’ rights
are always subject to being automatically trumped by defendants’ rights.”
Robert E. Preston, Co-chair,
National Victims‘ Constitutional
Amendment Network


Since 1982, a substantial number of the 68 recommendations in the President‘s Task Force on Victims of Crime Final Report have been enacted and implemented due in a large part to the efforts of crime victims. These accomplishments include the Victims of Crime Act in 1984, the landmark Crime Act of 1994, the countless state statutes that strengthen victims‘ rights and hold offenders accountable to their victims, and the 29 state victims‘ rights constitutional amendments. Each year, hundreds of new victims‘ rights laws and innovative practices are enacted and implemented across the country. Since 1990, after cases of stalking received national attention from the media and victim advocacy groups, all 50 states and the District of Columbia modified their laws to criminalize stalking.  Some state legislatures also reacted swiftly to the escalation of juvenile crime to record levels in the early 1990s by extending at least some rights to victims of juvenile offenders. In 1992, for example, only five states provided victims the right to be notified of a disposition hearing involving a juvenile. By 1995, 25 states provided this right. Despite this record of success, however, victims are still being denied their right to participate in the justice system. Many victims‘ rights laws are not being implemented, and most states still have not enacted fundamental reforms such as consultation by prosecutors with victims prior to plea agreements, victim input into important pretrial release decisions such as the granting of bail, protection of victims from intimidation and harm, and comprehensive rights for victims of juvenile offenders.


The right to protection from intimidation, harassment, and retaliation by offenders and the accused is becoming a major focus of public and law enforcement attention. Justice officials report an increase in the harassment and intimidation of witnesses, making it increasingly difficult to obtain convictions because crime victims and witnesses are afraid to testify.  Legislatures have attempted to address this problem by mandating ―no contact orders as a condition of pretrial or post trial release. In addition, victims‘ bills of rights generally require victims to be notified at the outset of the judicial process about legal action they can take to protect themselves from harassment and intimidation. Harassment or intimidation of a victim or witness by a defendant or convicted offender should result in automatic revocation of pretrial or supervised post trial release, and should be considered an aggravating factor in sentencing. Such violations should be charged and prosecuted under relevant anti-harassment, intimidation, and stalking laws. Any punishment imposed for the separate crime of intimidation should run consecutively after the sanction for the original crime. All protective orders, including those issued as a condition of release, should be maintained in a central, automated database that can be accessed by law enforcement and other justice officials throughout the country. Violations of protective orders should be taken seriously, swiftly.

  • NCJ 170600 New Directions from the Field: Victims‘ Rights and Services for the 21st Century
  • Violence Against Women Grants Office, Domestic Violence and Stalking:The Second Annual Report to Congress,Washington,D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,Violence Against Women Grants Office, July 1997 :15
  • Szymanski, L., Rights of Victims of Juvenile Crimes Statutes Analysis, 1993 Update, National Center for Juvenile Justice, 1994:1-9. See also National Victim Center, 1996 Victims‘ Rights Sourcebook, § 13 (discussions of victims‘ rights at the juvenile level). See generally, Beatty,D., S. Howley, and D. Kilpatric
  • Duggan, P.,―Reward Program Targets Witnesses to D.C. Homicides,‖Washington Post, March 23, 1994.

 


Rape Shield Laws

Wilson, 602 A.2d at 1295-98 (holding that government interests in assisting recovery of rape victims outweigh defendant's constitutional rights). 667 N.E.2d 847, 852-854 (Mass. 1996) The court concluded that a materiality standard was necessary to give full effect to the important goals underlying the privilege.


S.C. Const. art I, § 24(B). The Constitution provides "the rights created in this section may be subject to a writ of mandamus, to be issued by any justice of the Supreme Court or Circuit Court Judge to require compliance" of government officials.

Nev. Const. art I, § 8(4) (stating person may compel public officer or employee to carry out any victim right).

Utah Code Ann. § 77-38-11(2)(a)(i) (2004) (declaring "victim may bring an action for... a writ of mandamus").

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-4437 (2004). The statute provides: the victim has standing to seek an order or to bring a special action mandating that the victim be afforded any right or challenge and order denying any rights guaranteed to victims under the victims' bill of rights, article II, Sec. 2.1, Constitution of Arizona, any implementing legislation or court rules.

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 11-103(b) (2004). The statute provides: "[a] victim of violent crime... may file an application for leave to appeal... from an interlocutory or final order...." Utah Code Ann. § 77-38-11(2)(a)(i). The Code provides that "the victim [may] bring an action for declaratory relief or for a writ of mandamus defining or enforcing the rights of victims and the obligations of government entities under [the Rights of Crime Victims Act]."

"Even if he can vote to choose his rulers, a young man with AIDS who cannot read or write and lives on the brink of starvation is not truly free. Equally, even if she earns enough to live, a woman who lives in the shadow of daily violence and has no say in how her country is run is not truly free. Larger freedom implies that men and women everywhere have the right to be governed by their own consent, under law, in a society where all individuals can, without discrimination or retribution, speak, worship and associate freely. They must also be free from want — so that the death sentences of extreme poverty and infectious disease are lifted from their lives — and free from fear — so that their lives and livelihoods are not ripped apart by violence and war. Indeed, all people have the right to security and to development."

—United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

State Rape Shield Laws

RAPE SHIELD STATUTES (As of June 28, 2006)

 

ALABAMA ALA. CODE § 12-21-203 (2005)

ALASKA ALASKA STAT. § 12.45.045 (2006)

ARIZONA ARIZ. REV. STAT. § 13-1421 (2006)

ARKANSAS ARK. CODE. ANN. § 16-42-101 (2006)

CALIFORNIA CAL. EVID. CODE § 782 (2006)

CAL. EVID. CODE § 1103 (2006)

COLORADO COLO. REV. STAT. § 18-3-407 (2005)

CONNECTICUT CONN. GEN. STAT. § 54-86f (2006)

CONN. CODE OF EVIDENCE § 4-11 (2006)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA D.C. Code § 22-3021 (2006)

D.C. Code § 22-3022 (2006)

DELAWARE DEL. CODE. ANN. Tit. 11 § 3509 (2006)

FLORIDA FLA. STAT. § 794.022 (2005)

GEORGIA GA. CODE ANN. § 24-2-2 (2006)

GA. CODE ANN. § 24-2-3 (2006)

HAWAII HAW. REV. STAT. § 412 (2006)

IDAHO IDAHO CODE ANN. § 412 (2005)

ILLINOIS 725 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/115-7 (2005)

INDIANA IND. CODE. ANN. § 412 (2006)

IND. CODE ANN. § 35-37-4-4 (2006)

IOWA Iowa R. Evid. 5.412 (2005)

KANSAS K.S.A. § 21-3525 (2005)

KENTUCKY Ky. R. Evid. 412. (2006)

LOUISIANA La. C.E. Art. 412 (2006)

MAINE Me. R. Evid. 412 (2005)

MARYLAND Md. Code Ann., CRIM. LAW § 3-319 (2006)

MASSACHUSSETTS MASS. ANN. LAWS ch. 233, § 21B (2006)

MICHIGAN Mich. Rules Evid. § 40

MICH. COMP. LAWS SERV. § 750.520j (2006)

MINNESOTA MINN. STAT. § 609.347 (2005)

MISSISSIPI MISS. CODE ANN. § 97-3-68 (2006)

MISSOURI MO. REV. STAT. § 491.015 (2006)

MONTANA MONT. CODE ANN., § 45-5-511 (2005)

NEBRASKA NEB. REV. STAT. § 28-321 (2005)

NEVADA NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. § 50.090 (2006)

NEV. REV. STAT. ANN. § 48.069 (2006)

NEW HAMPSHIRE N.H. Rules Evid. 412 (2005)

N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 632-A:6 (2006)

NEW JERSEY N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-7 (2006)

NEW MEXICO N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-9-16 (2006)

NEW YORK NY CLS CPL § 60.42 (2006)

NORTH CAROLINA N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8C-1, Rule 412 (2006)

NORTH DAKOTA N. D.R. Ev., Rule 412 (2005)

OHIO ORC Ann. 2907.02 (2006)

Ohio Evid. R. 404 (2006)

OKHLAHOMA 12 Okl. St. § 2412 (2005)

ORS § 40.210 ; 2006 OEC 412 (2006)

PENNSYLVANIA 18 Pa.C.S. § 3104 (2005)

RHODE ISLAND RI R. Evid. Art. IV, Rule 412 (2006)

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-37-13 (2006)

TENNESSEE Tenn. Evid. Rule 412 (2005)

TEXAS Tex. Evid. R. 412 (2006)

UTAH URE Rule 412 (2006)

VIRGINIA Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-67.7 (2006)

WASHINGTON Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.44.020 (2006)

WEST VIRGINIA W. Va. Code § 61-8B-11 (2006)

WISCONSIN Wis. Stat. § 972.11 (2006)

WYOMING Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-312 (2006)

Rape Laws & Related Statutes

These are some examples of state laws that relate to crime victim rights.  Check your own state for the laws that pertain to your situation.

 

Washington State law includes sex offenses and other related crimes, as well as benefits and protections for victims.  The following list is adapted from the Sexual Violence Law Center:

Sex Offenses

Victims Rights, Investigations

Protection Orders

Privacy & Confidentiality

Mandatory Reporting, Investigation

Rape Shield

Protection of Sexual Assault Victim's Records Privacy

Kansas Constitution Article 15 § 15

“The Victims of crime as defined by law, shall be entitled to certain basic rights, including the right to be informed of and to be present at public hearings, as defined by law, of the criminal justice process, and to be heard at sentencing or at any other time deemed appropriate by the court, to the extent that these rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.”

Law 1992 ch 343 section 1 Nov 3, 1992

 

Rape records were confidential under Kansas state law. See Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 38-1507, 65-5602.

KANSAS K.S.A. § 21-3525 (2005)

21-3525

Chapter 21.--CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS

PART II.--PROHIBITED CONDUCT

Article 35.--SEX OFFENSES

21-3525. Evidence of complaining witness' previous sexual conduct in prosecutions for sex offenses; motions; notice.

 

(a) The provisions of this section shall apply only in a prosecution for: (1) Rape, as defined by K.S.A. 21-3502, and amendments thereto; (2) indecent liberties with a child, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3503, and amendments thereto; (3) aggravated indecent liberties with a child, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3504, and amendments thereto; (4) criminal sodomy, as defined in subsections (a)(2)and (a)(3) of K.S.A. 21-3505 and amendments thereto; (5) aggravated criminal sodomy as defined by K.S.A. 21-3506, and amendments thereto; (6) aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3511, and amendments thereto; (7) sexual exploitation of a child as defined in K.S.A. 21-3516, and amendments thereto; (8) aggravated sexual battery, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3518, and amendments thereto; (9) incest, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3602, and amendments thereto; (10) aggravated incest, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3603, and amendments thereto; (11) indecent solicitation of a child, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3510 and amendments thereto; (12) aggravated assault, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3410, and amendments thereto, with intent to commit any crime specified above; (13) sexual battery, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3517, and amendments thereto; (14) unlawful voluntary sexual relations, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3522, and amendments thereto; or (15) attempt, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3301, and amendments thereto, or conspiracy, as defined in K.S.A. 21-3302, and amendments thereto, to commit any crime specified above.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), in any prosecution to which this section applies, evidence of the complaining witness' previous sexual conduct with any person including the defendant shall not be admissible, and no reference shall be made thereto in any proceeding before the court, except under the following conditions: The defendant shall make a written motion to the court to admit evidence or testimony concerning the previous sexual conduct of the complaining witness. The motion must be made at least seven days before the commencement of the proceeding unless that requirement is waived by the court. The motion shall state the nature of such evidence or testimony and its relevancy and shall be accompanied by an affidavit in which an offer of proof of the previous sexual conduct of the complaining witness is stated. The motion, affidavits and any supporting or responding documents of the motion shall not be made available for examination without a written order of the court except that such motion, affidavits and supporting and responding documents or testimony when requested shall be made available to the defendant or the defendant's counsel and to the prosecutor. The defendant, defendant's counsel and prosecutor shall be prohibited from disclosing any matters relating to the motion, affidavits and any supporting or responding documents of the motion. The court shall conduct a hearing on the motion in camera. At the conclusion of the hearing, if the court finds that evidence proposed to be offered by the defendant regarding the previous sexual conduct of the complaining witness is relevant and is not otherwise inadmissible as evidence, the court may make an order stating what evidence may be introduced by the defendant and the nature of the questions to be permitted. The defendant may then offer evidence and question witnesses in accordance with the order of the court.

(c) In any prosecution for a crime designated in subsection (a), the prosecuting attorney may introduce evidence concerning any previous sexual conduct of the complaining witness, and the complaining witness may testify as to any such previous sexual conduct. If such evidence or testimony is introduced, the defendant may cross-examine the witness who gives such testimony and offer relevant evidence limited specifically to the rebuttal of such evidence or testimony introduced by the prosecutor or given by the complaining witness.

(d) As used in this section, "complaining witness" means the alleged victim of any crime designated in subsection (a), the prosecution of which is subject to this section.

History: L. 1976, ch. 162, § 1; L. 1983, ch. 109, § 15; L. 1991, ch. 87, § 1; L. 1992, ch. 298, § 32; L. 1993, ch. 291, § 53; L. 2005, ch. 114, § 1; July 1.

"The mere summoning of a witness and compelling him to testify against his will, about his beliefs, expressions or associations, is a measure of governmental interference. And when those forced revelations concern maters that are unorthodox, unpopular, or even hateful to the general public, the reactions in the life of the witness may be disastrous."

Earl Warren, Chief Justice

Source: U. S. Supreme Court

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
 
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER ADVOCACY NETWORK

P.O. 42700 

Washington, DC 20015

MedicalWhistleblowers (at) gmail.com

CONTACT

"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910