Victims want to see justice at work. They want to hear counsel's arguments and view the reactions of the judge, jury, and defendant. Most state victims' rights constitutional amendments and statutory victims' bills of rights give victims the right to be present during proceedings.
This Bulletin examines relevant victim's rights statutes and discusses variations in interpretation and practice across the nation. The Bulletin concludes that although crime victim's rights statutes' application, especially at criminal trials, has been restricted in practice, some statutes and the limited case law suggest that the right can be applied more broadly without placing an undue burden on the criminal justice system or interfering with the constitutional rights of the accused.
OVC Legal Series bulletins are designed to inform victim advocates and victim service providers about various legal issues relating to crime victims. The series is not meant to provide an exhaustive legal analysis of the topics presented; rather, it provides a digest of issues for professionals who work with victims of crime.