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NCJ Number: 162285 Find in a Library
Title: Crime Victims Seek Recompense Through Civil Justice System
Journal: Criminal Justice Newsletter  Volume:26  Issue:20  Dated:(October 16, 1995)  Pages:1-3
Editor(s): C Fischer
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After examining the trend toward crime victims' use of civil proceedings, this article discusses the advantages of civil suits for victims and the delay caused by civil court backlogs.
Abstract: Crime victims across the Nation are filing civil suits against persons they believe to be perpetrators to recover damages for pain and suffering, to punish offenders financially, to prevent offenders from profiting from books or films about their cases, or to obtain a sense that some measure of justice has been served in cases where perpetrators never faced criminal charges or were acquitted. This trend has been limited, however, because most offenders do not have "deep pockets" and are thus unlikely to be able to pay any damages that may be awarded in a civil judgment. Even when defendants avoid paying damages, civil judgments can be effective in restraining a defendant's lifestyle. In some cases, victims simply want to make a statement through a civil judgment, without regard to the amount of money collected. Advantages of civil suits are the lower standard of proof compared to criminal proceedings, victim control of the case through a personal attorney, and the use of a criminal conviction as proof of the defendant's liability in civil litigation. One disadvantage of civil proceedings is that victims may have to cope with the stress of testifying and confronting the defendant in court. Further, many jurisdictions have court backlogs that delay cases.
Main Term(s): Victim compensation
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Civil remedies; Victims rights
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