You have a right to notice, to be heard, and to restitution, among other rights.
If you have been a victim of crime in California, your most immediate concerns may be with the immediate future. Will the perpetrator be arrested? Will you have to testify at trial? Will the charges result in a conviction? Yet even after a perpetrator has been convicted, there are issues that may arise for crime victims.
According to an Irvine victims’ rights lawyer, California’s Victims’ Bill of Rights (also known as Marsy’s Law) gives victims certain rights post-conviction. Exercising these rights may be incredibly important for your safety and peace of mind.
There are 10 specific rights that crime victims have post-conviction. They include:
- The right to reasonable notice of all public proceedings where the defendant and prosecutor are entitled to be present, including post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at those proceedings;
- The right to be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including those that post-conviction release decisions;
- To a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings;
- To provide information to a probation department official regarding the impact of the crime and any sentencing recommendations prior to sentencing;
- To receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when made available to the defendant (except for confidential portions);
- To be informed, upon request, of the defendant’s conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, the scheduled release date, and any release or escape by the defendant from custody;
- To restitution;
- To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence;
- To be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to provide information to the parole authority, and to be notified, upon request, of the parole or other release of the defendant; and
- To have their safety, the safety of their family, and the general public considered before any decision on release is made.
These rights may be exercised in a number of ways. For example, at a sentencing hearing, you may want to talk to the court about how the crime has affected you or your life. An Irvine victims’ rights lawyer can help you make a decision about how to best do this. Your options may include giving a statement in open court, submitting a written victim impact statement, or (if possible) submitting a recorded statement to be played in court.
In addition — or as an alternative — your attorney can submit a sentencing memorandum that argues for a specific sentence. This can be done if you do not agree with the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation or the terms of a plea deal, or simply because you want your voice to be heard. Because the prosecutor represents the state, and not the crime victim, you are able to submit a sentencing memorandum through your attorney.
Beyond sentencing, California crime victims have a right to notice and to be heard when it comes to decisions about the release of perpetrators. If the person who committed a crime against you is set to be released, you will have an opportunity to have your voice heard before the parole board. This can be an incredibly important thing to do if you believe that the release of the offender will affect your safety or the safety of your family.
If you have been a victim of a crime, we are here to help. At Justice 4 Crime Victims, we are dedicated to helping our clients through every stage of the criminal justice process, from the initial investigation and arrest of the offender to sentencing and post-conviction proceedings. We will stand by your side and protect your interests. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with an Irvine crime victims’ lawyer, contact us today at 949-585-9055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.