A PRIL 2006 The Justice for All Act
What Is the Justice What the Justice for (3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, for All Act? All Act of 2004 unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, he Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. Contains determines that testimony by the 5107, Public Law 108-405) (the Act) T ■ Scott Campbell, Stephanie Roper, victim would be materially altered was signed into law by President George Wendy Preston, Louarna Gillis, and if the victim heard other testimony W. Bush on October 30, 2004. The Act Nila Lynn Crime Victims’ Rights at that proceeding. contains four major sections related to Act crime victims and the criminal justice (4) The right to be reasonably heard at process. Some of the purposes of the ■ Debbie Smith Act of 2004 any public proceeding in the district Act are to protect crime victims’ rights, ■ DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act court involving release, plea, sen- eliminate the substantial backlog of of 2004 tencing, or any parole proceeding. DNA samples collected from crime scenes and convicted offenders, and ■ Innocence Protection Act of 2004 (5) The reasonable right to confer with improve and expand the DNA testing the attorney for the Government in The purpose of this fact sheet is to pro- capacity of federal, state, and local the case. vide information about the Scott Camp- crime laboratories. bell, Stephanie Roper, Wendy Preston, (6) The right to full and timely restitu- The first section of the Act establishes Louarna Gillis, and Nila Lynn Crime tion as provided in law. the rights of crime victims in federal Victims’ Rights Act. Section 3771 (a) (7) The right to proceedings free from criminal proceedings and provides mech- of this Act amends the federal criminal unreasonable delay. anisms for enforcing these rights. The code to grant crime victims specified Act is the result of years of hard work by rights, including: (8) The right to be treated with fairness many individuals, and it is an important and with respect for the victim’s (1) The right to be reasonably protected first step toward achieving true justice dignity and privacy. from the accused. for victims of crime. Although the Act extends protections to victims within (2) The right to reasonable, accurate, What the Act the federal criminal justice system, it is and timely notice of any public hoped that this legislation will serve as a court proceeding or any parole Accomplishes model for states that have not yet enact- proceeding involving the crime, or he Act adds new victims’ rights and ed legislation establishing crime victims’ of any release or escape of the modifies some of the existing rights. rights. T accused. Most notable is the new right of victims
Office of Justice Programs • Partnerships for Safer Communities • www.ojp.usdoj.gov to be reasonably heard at any public (1) designate an administrative allow a victim to file a lawsuit against proceeding involving release, plea, or authority within the Department of the Federal Government if the victim sentencing. The Act also requires prose- Justice to receive and investigate com- believes that his or her rights have not cutors to advise victims that they can plaints relating to the provision or been provided. In addition, the Act is seek the advice of an attorney with violation of crime victims’ rights; (2) not intended to impair prosecutorial respect to the rights established by the provide for additional training regarding discretion in the handling of the case. Act. Although the Act does not provide crime victims’ rights; and (3) create Finally, the Act does not create an grounds for a new trial, it allows victims disciplinary sanctions for Department of attorney-client relationship between to file motions to reopen a plea or a Justice employees who “willfully or the victim and a representative of the sentence in certain circumstances. wantonly” fail to meet their obligations Department of Justice. to crime victims. For purposes of the Act, a victim is “a person directly and proximately harmed Authorized Funding as a result of the commission of a federal Provisions of the Act That offense or an offense in the District of Have Been Implemented n addition to the new rights it pro- vides, the Act authorizes funding for Columbia.” This language expands the The Department of Justice issued a revi- I the following: definition of victim in the “Services to sion of the Attorney General Guidelines Victims” section of the Victims of Crime for Victim and Witness Assistance (1) Grants to state, tribal, and local Act, which allows such services only for (AG Guidelines). These AG Guidelines prosecutors’ offices, law enforcement those who suffered “direct physical, (www.usdoj.gov/olp/final.pdf) require agencies, courts, jails, and correc- emotional, or pecuniary harm.” responsible officials to report on their tional institutions, and to qualified compliance to the Attorney General public and private entities, to Asserting and through the Director of the Office for develop, establish, and maintain Victims of Crime (OVC) by means of an programs for the enforcement of Enforcing Victims’ Annual Compliance Report containing crime victims’ rights. Rights relevant data (including the number of crime victims offered services). The AG (2) Grants to organizations that provide he Act creates several enforcement Guidelines require responsible officials to legal counsel and support services T mechanisms. Either the crime victim ensure that all employees whose primary for victims in criminal cases, for the or the Government may assert the vic- responsibilities include contact with enforcement of crime victims’ rights tim’s rights in the district court. If, after crime victims and witnesses receive a in federal jurisdictions, and in states making a motion in the district court, a copy of these guidelines and that these and tribal governments that have victim or the Government is not satis- employees be trained for no less than 1 laws substantially equivalent to the fied that the victim’s rights have been hour within 60 days of assuming such provisions of the Justice for All Act. recognized, either may file a petition responsibilities. (3) Training and technical assistance to with the court of appeals. The court of state and tribal jurisdictions that appeals must issue a decision within 72 The AG Guidelines also require that these same employees undergo additional wish to craft state-of-the-art victims’ hours of filing, and if it denies the relief rights laws, and design compliance sought, must state clearly on the record training within a reasonable amount of time if these guidelines or the law relat- systems to ensure that those rights in a written opinion the reasons for the are enforced. denial. ing to victims’ rights change. The AG Guidelines also state that disciplinary (4) Enhancement of the Victim Notifi- action such as suspension or termination cation System, which enables feder- Additional Provisions of employment may result if employees al law enforcement to make sure To Promote fail to comply with provisions of federal that crime victims receive timely law for the treatment of crime victims. notification of all court proceedings, Compliance parole and probation hearings, and he provisions of the Act require that Limitations of the Act any release hearings. T within 1 year from the date of the (5) The United States Attorneys’ t should be noted that the Act does Act’s enactment, the Attorney General Offices for Victim/Witness not create a separate cause of action to I Assistance Programs.
2 Although the Act has authorized fund- For More Information ing, to date, funding has not yet been appropriated by Congress. or more information about the F Office for Victims of Crime, contact First Test Case: Office for Victims of Crime U.S. Department of Justice January 2006 810 Seventh Street NW., Eighth Floor n late January, the United States Washington, DC 20531 I Court of Appeals for the Ninth 202–307–5983 Circuit decided Kenna v. U.S. District Fax: 202–514–6383 Court for the Central District of Web site: www.ovc.gov OVC’s Web Forum California, in which the court consid- For copies of this fact sheet and other http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum ered whether the Crime Victims’ OVC publications or information on OVC’s Web Forum allows participants to Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. Sec- additional victim-related resources, tap into a national network of people with various backgrounds but all facing tion 3771, gave victims the right to please contact speak at sentencing hearings. The case similar challenges and experiences. It’s the perfect place for crime victim service involved a father and son who swindled OVC Resource Center providers and allied professionals to dozens of victims. The defendants pled P.O. Box 6000 gain peer insight and support related guilty to wire fraud and money laun- Rockville, MD 20849–6000 to best practices in victim services. Features include— dering. More than 60 victims submitted 1–800–851–3420 or 301–519–5500 victim impact statements. At the (TTY 1–877–712–9279) ■ Guest host sessions that give you father’s sentencing, several victims Ask OVC: http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/askovc access to experts in the field on spoke about the effects of the crimes, Web site: www.ncjrs.gov topics such as stalking, drunk driving, terrorism, victimization in Indian but at the son’s sentencing, the judge Or order OVC publications online at Country, and domestic violence. refused to allow the victims to speak. http://ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/Alpha The Court of Appeals relied heavily on ■ OVC news and announcements that List.aspx. report current OVC-focused initia- statements made by U.S. Senators Jon tives and relevant topics and events Kyl and Dianne Feinstein, sponsors of For information about training and with a primary focus on best the CVRA, and held that the district technical assistance from OVC, contact practices. judge had made a mistake. OVC Training and Technical ■ A user-friendly search engine that In its decision, the appeals court made Assistance Center helps you scan and retrieve posts by topic of interest, keywords, or date. the following three important points: 10530 Rosehaven Street, Suite 400 (1) in passing the Crime Victims’ Rights Fairfax, VA 22030 ■ Hot topics that include posts from Act, it was the intent of Congress to Phone: 1–866–OVC–TTAC unique users or forum topics that are relevant to current events in victim allow victims to speak at sentencing (1–866–682–8822) assistance. hearings, not just to submit victim TTY: 1–866–682–8880 impact statements; (2) victims have a E-mail: [email protected] ■ The host of the month that high- right to speak even if there is more than Web site: www.ovcttac.org lights a single user post that captures the essence of a forum topic or a one criminal sentencing; and (3) the popular issue. remedy for a crime victim denied the The Office for Victims of Crime is a right to speak at a sentencing hearing is component of the Office of Justice Pro- Make connections. to have the sentence vacated and a new grams, which also includes the Bureau of Share ideas. Change lives. sentencing hearing held in which the Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice victims are allowed to speak. This deci- Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, sion is an important step in securing and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. the rights of crime victims.
3 U.S. Department of Justice PRESORTED STANDARD Office of Justice Programs POSTAGE & FEES PAID Office for Victims of Crime *FS~000311* DOJ/OVC PERMIT NO. G–91 Washington, DC 20531
Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300