The act 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 act updates include:
- Allowing a victim or the victim's designees to appear in court proceedings in person, by phone, or virtually by audio or video, or similar technology;
- Establishing for victims the right 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 the prosecutor shall explain the defendant's sentencing terms to the victim;
- Requiring the court to provide the victim or the victim's designee with translation or interpretation services as needed during all critical stages of the hearing;
- Requiring a court to order a bond hearing in any case that falls under the act;
- Clarifying that a designee or designees may represent the interests of a victim who is deceased or incapacitated;
- Clarifying that a party issuing a subpoena pursuant to Rule 17 of the Colorado rules of criminal procedure for the production of a victim's privileged records or a subpoena requesting a victim's compensation records shall file specific information with the court and serve that information to any opposing party; and
- Clarifying that the court shall quash any subpoena and not receive any records protected by privilege, unless the court finds, based on evidence, that the victim expressly or impliedly waived the statutory privilege. The act outlines when the court shall determine whether to receive and release any records relating to the victim.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)