Which crimes are covered under the new victims’ rights amendment and its implementing statute?
While I was finishing up my post last Wednesday on Senate Bill 682 (the bill implementing the 2018 constitutional amendments expanding victims’ rights), the Governor was signing that bill into law. In the week since S.L. 2019-216 was chaptered, I’ve fielded a couple of questions about the responsibilities for notifying victims of court hearings and the interplay between victims’ state constitutional rights and defendants’ rights under the state and federal constitutions. This post sets forth my (admittedly preliminary) thoughts on those matters.
Author’s note: Senate Bill 682 was signed by the Governor on September 4, 2019, and was chaptered as S.L. 2019-216.
Last week, the General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 682, which implements the 2018 constitutional amendment that expanded the rights of crime victims. The bill, ratified one day before the constitutional amendment took effect, awaits the Governor’s signature. This post briefly reviews the history of state-law protections for crime victims and the provisions of the 2018 amendment before discussing some of the more significant aspects of SB 682.
There will be six constitutional amendments on the ballot this November. One of them, S.L. 2018-110 (H 551), expands the constitutional rights of crime victims. Voters will be asked to vote for or against a “Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for crimes; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.” If House Bill 3, ratified yesterday, becomes law no additional explanation of the amendment will appear on the ballot, though the Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission will prepare an explanation of the amendment at least 75 days before the election. If you just can’t wait that long to learn more about the amendment and its effect on existing law, this post is for you.