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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64088 Find in a Library
Title: LEGAL OMBUDSMAN - NEW ROLE FOR AN OLD OFFICE
Journal: VICTIMOLOGY  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:268-278
Author(s): G P ALPERT
Corporate Author: Visage Press, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Visage Press, Inc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: Visage Press, Inc
108A South Columbus Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DISCUSSION INCLUDES HISTORY OF THE OMBUDSMAN, TRADITIONAL DEFINITIONS, EXAMINATION OF A LEGAL OMBUDSMAN'S DUTIES IN OREGON, AND THE PROPOSAL TO EXPAND THE CONCEPT.
Abstract: THE IDEA THAT PERSONS WITH COMPLAINTS ABOUT ACTIONS OF OFFICIALS SHOULD BE ABLE TO STATE THEIR GRIEVANCES TO AN INFLUENTIAL FUNCTIONARY IS GENERALLY REFERRED TO AS THE OMBUDSMAN CONCEPT. OMBUDSMEN HAVE BEEN USED IN MANY COUNTRIES SINCE THE EARLY 1900'S ALTHOUGH IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1963 THAT THE OMBUDSMAN CONCEPT WAS INTRODUCED IN THE U.S. SINCE THAT TIME, 19 STATES AND 13 CITIES HAVE ESTABLISHED A GOVERNOR'S OMBUDSMAN AND OTHER GENERAL COMPLAINT-HANDLING MECHANISMS. THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF OMBUDSMAN VIEWS THE OFFICE ONLY AS PROVIDING RELIEF TO CITIZENS FOR OFFICIAL VIOLATIONS OF THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS; THE MODERN DEFINITION ENCOMPASSES THE DUAL FUNCTIONS OF GENERALLY ASSISTING THE PUBLIC ON THE ONE HAND AND INVESTIGATING AND CRITICIZING THE OPERATIONS OF GOVERNMENTAL UNITS ON THE OTHER. IN 1978, A PERMANENT OFFICE OF LEGAL OMBUDSMAN WAS CREATED IN LANE COUNTY, OREG. THE POSITION REQUIRES BOTH PROACTIVE AND REACTIVE RESPONSES TO COMMUNITY NEEDS. PROACTIVE DUTIES INCLUDE (1) IDENTIFYING COMMUNITY PROBLEMS, (2) IMPLEMENTING REMEDIAL POLICIES, (3) MAKING THE PUBLIC AWARE OF POLICIES OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, (4) ORGANIZING VICTIM AND ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, AND (5) SERVING AS A LIAISON WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTAL BODIES, ESPECIALLY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARE OF SPECIAL CONCERN, WITH ALL LEGAL AND EXTRALEGAL REMEDIES EXPLAINED TO THE BATTERED SPOUSE. THE LANE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HELPS VICTIMS REACH A REMEDIAL GOAL WHETHER PROSECUTION IS ELECTED OR NOT. OTHER DUTIES OF A LEGAL OMBUDSMAN PERTAIN TO HELPING VICTIMS AND WITNESSES BECOME INFORMED ABOUT THE CRIMINAL PROCESS AND HELPING THEM INTERACT WITH IT. A COMPREHENSIVE VICTIM/WITNESS INFORMATION PROGRAM USING THE OMBUDSMAN IS RECOMMENDED, WITH DISCUSSION CENTERING ON THREE PHASES: FROM SUBPOENA TO TRIAL, THROUGH TRIAL AND SENTENCING, AND EXTRAJUDICIAL ACTIVITIES. THE IDEAL MODEL FOR THE OMBUDSMAN SHOULD BE THAT OF AN ATTENTIVE GOVERNMENTAL OFFICE THAT RESPONDS TO INTERNAL ORGANIZATIONAL DEMANDS AS WELL AS TO OUTSIDE INQUIRIES AND COMMUNITY NEEDS. REFERENCES, A TABLE, AND FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (PRG)
Index Term(s): Judicial process; Ombudsmen; Oregon; Victim/Witness Advocates
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64088

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