A press release from State Rep. Kent Gaffney:
Gaffney signs on to Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Constitutional Amendment
Springfield, IL… In an effort to protect crime victims across the State of Illinois, State Representative Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) has signed on to House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 29, also known as the “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.” The Illinois Constitution currently has provision for crime victims’ rights; however victims’ rights advocates assert those are frequently violated.
“We see legislation all the time to expand the rights of criminals, yet this amendment will go towards helping the actual victims,” said Gaffney. “Victims and their families have certain inalienable rights that our Constitution does not currently protect; this amendment will do just that.”
HJRCA 29 will add the following rights to crime victims in the Illinois Constitution:
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to notification of court proceedings;
- The right to communicate with the prosecution;
- The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing;
- The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused;
- The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused;
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim’s testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial;
- The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim’s choice;
- The right to restitution
In addition to the new rights given to crime victims, the Amendment will also allow victims to petition the court if their rights were denied so that they be enforced and requires a resolution promptly upon request.
“The bottom line is people have been denied their rights. This is unacceptable and needs to be rectified,” said Gaffney. “These are people who are going through the hardest situation they have ever had to go through. It is our duty to protect their rights.”
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The proposed Constitutional Amendment’s Chief Sponsor is Lou Lang. There are too many co-sponsors to count.