We have heard plenty of stories about crime in Arizona. Unfortunately and sadly, crime occurs everyday on our streets, in our offices and in our homes. If you have victimized by criminal conduct, what happens next? Who will provide support and explain what you can expect from our criminal justice system? What resources are available? What remedies are available in the criminal and civil justice system? Fortunately, in Arizona you have some resources available. For example, the Department of Public Safety maintains a web site as a resource for crime victims. This site provides victim information and resources during times of need. The site also contains links to other resources such as the Never Again Foundation. This organization indicates its purpose as follows:
We are lawyers providing free legal representation and education for women, children, and senior victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or elder abuse in civil law suits directly against the abusers. We have won over $170 Million for our clients, and 100% of all collections are given to victims to help rebuild their lives.
Arizona also has constitutional protections to ensure that victims provide input into the criminal justice process once a defendant has been apprehended. Victims have the following rights once a defendant enters into the criminal justice system:
1. To be advised of all victim rights and how to assert them;
2. To information on the availability of crisis intervention, medical and emergency services, information on victim assistance programs and domestic violence resources;
3. To be advised of the date, time and location of the initial appearance or arraignment if a suspect is arrested or cited;
4. To be provided the police report number, if available, and if the case has been submitted to a prosecutor’s office, information on how to contact that office;
5. To be notified if the prosecutor declines to file charges, and notice of what charges are filed;
6. To have your home address, and employer’s name and address withheld from the defendant and his representatives;
7. To refuse an interview with the defendant and anyone working on the defendant’s behalf;
8. To be present at any court proceeding at which the defendant has the right to be present;
9. To name an appropriate support person, who is not a witness, to accompany you to any interview, deposition or court proceeding;
10. To have the Court provide appropriate safeguards to minimize contact between you and the defendant;
11. To be heard at any proceeding concerning release of the accused person, a plea agreement, and the sentencing (with some limitations if the defendant is facing the death penalty);
12. To speak with the presentence investigator before the sentencing, to give a sentencing recommendation, and to read the presentence report when it is available to the defendant;
13. To have the court order restitution, and to receive that restitution promptly;
14. To leave work (if eligible) to attend scheduled legal proceedings (in accordance with A.R.S 13.4439).
In the criminal justice system, victims may be awarded restitution. Victims may also have other civil remedies available to them as well. Against the criminal defendant, the Never Again Foundation provides a laudible resource for victims seeking civil justice directly against the criminal defendant. Victims may also have civil remedies available to them against other parties. The National Crime Victim Bar Association provides a resource for crime victims seeking civil remedies from other parties who may bear some responsibility for allowing a criminal act to occur. This organization provides resources to victims who need expertise in both civil and criminal matters.
The NCVBA provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability
of civil remedies for victims of crime.
Hopefully, you will never need these resources; however, they are available to provide victims with some compassion and understanding during times of need.