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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78795 Find in a Library
Title: Of Judges, Justice and Crime Victims
Author(s): G Deukmejian
Corporate Author: California Office of the Attorney General
Dept of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: California Office of the Attorney General
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
California Office of the Attorney General Crime Prevention Ctr
Sacramento, CA 95814
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

California Office of the Attorney General Crime Prevention Ctr
555 Capitol Mall
Suite 290
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In a speech to the California Judicial College, the California attorney general discusses mandatory prison sentences and judges' responsibilities to crime victims.
Abstract: While protections for the rights of the accused have been expanding during the past two decades, little attention has been paid to the general public's criminal justice rights or to the rights of crime victims. However, the protection of the public is coming to share equal prominence with defendants' rights. Thus, the California Legislature has adopted mandatory sentences for such acts as using a gun in the commission of a serious felony. These laws have been criticized for depriving a sentencing court of discretion, but this objection is not well founded for several reasons. For example, the legislature has the responsibility to prescribe punishments, while the judiciary is responsible for imposing the prescribed punishment. In addition, certainty of punishment and removal from the community are effective deterrents. With regard to the victims of crime, steps are being taken to make the system more responsive. California enacted the Nation's first victim compensation law in 1965 and provides $8 million each year for implementation of the law. Although 13,500 victims of violent crime have received compensation, nearly 2 million violent crime victims were not aided because they were unaware of their eligibility or could not complete the application process. Judges should be aware of their obligation to victims. Restitution and victim and witness assistance programs are among ways to redress the imbalance in the criminal justice system. Judges have a major role to play in making these programs work properly. Eliminating court delays and guarding against subtle intimidation of victims and witnesses are among ways judges should make this effort. Two newspaper clippings are attached.
Index Term(s): Criminal Justice System Response to Victims; Mandatory Sentencing; Victim compensation; Witness assistance
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=78795

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