Crime Victims' Rights Act: A Summary and Legal Analysis of 18 U.S.C. §3771 [December 9, 2015]   [open pdf - 919KB]

"Section 3771 of Title 18 of the 'United States Code' is a statutory bill of rights for victims of crimes committed in violation of federal law or the laws of the District of Columbia. It defines victims as anyone directly and proximately harmed by such an offense, individuals and legal entities alike. It does not appear to include family relatives of a deceased, child, or incapacitated victim except in a representative capacity. Numbered among the rights it conveys are (1) the right to be reasonably protected from the accused; (2) the right to notification of public court and parole proceedings and of any release of the accused; (3) the right not to be excluded from public court proceedings under most circumstances; (4) the right to be heard in public court proceedings relating to bail, the acceptance of a plea bargain, sentencing, or parole; (5) the right to confer with the prosecutor; (6) the right to restitution under the law; (7) the right to proceedings free from unwarranted delays; (8) the right to be treated fairly and with respect to one's dignity and privacy; (9) the right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement; and (10) the right to be informed of the statutory rights and services to which one is entitled. The section directs the courts and law enforcement officials to see to it that the rights it creates are honored. Both victims and prosecutors may assert the rights and seek review from the appellate courts should the rights be initially denied. The section vests no rights in the accused nor does it create cause of action damages in any instance where a victim is afforded less than the section's full benefits."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33679
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
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