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OVC Bulletin: Victim Input Into Plea Agreements

General Material

OVC Legal Series bulletins are designed to inform victim advocates and victim service providers about various legal issues relating to crime victims. This Bulletin, Victim Input Into Plea Agreements , examines recent victims' rights legislation which has allowed victims of crime to take a more active role in plea negotiations and related proceedings.

The Bulletin concludes that to better incorporate victim input on negotiated plea agreements into the criminal justice process, concisely worded legislation that defines key terms can help avoid misconceptions by prosecutors and victims. Well-written statutory language that clarifies the prosecutor's obligations toward victims encourages more consistent application of the right to confer for all victims. Moreover, certification of efforts to consult with victims before pleas can be accepted may be a valuable tool for ensuring compliance. Finally, criminal justice professionals should be familiar with laws governing victim input and should help victims understand their meaning.