The bill updates the "Victim Rights Act" (act). The purpose of the act is to ensure all victims of crimes are protected by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges.
The bill updates include:
- Allowing a victim or the victim's designees to appear in court proceedings in person, by phone, or virtually via video or audio technology, or similar technology;
- Requiring victims to receive a free copy of the initial incident report from the investigating law enforcement agency that includes, at a minimum, the victim's name, the offender's name, the date of the crime, the charges, and a summary of the incident. The investigating law enforcement agency is required to notify the district attorney of the information the victim received in the incident report and when it was provided to the victim. The district attorney is required to provide this information to any defendant involved in the case through the discovery process.
- Requiring defendants to attend sentencing hearings , in person, by phone, or virtually by audio or video, or similar technology, to hear the victim's impact statement, unless the court excludes the defendant;
- Clarifying that a victim or the victim's designees have a right to consult with the prosecution after any crime against the victim has been charged, and the prosecutor shall explain the defendant's sentencing terms;
- Requiring the court to provide the victim or the victim's designees with translation or interpretation services as needed during all critical stages of the hearing;
- Clarifying that a victim or the victim's designees have a right to attend all parole board hearings;
- Requiring a court to order a bond hearing in any case that falls under the act; and
- Clarifying that more than one person can represent the interests of a victim who is deceased or incapacitated.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)