FINAL BILL REPORT
BYSenators Pullen, Talmadge, Thorsness, Newhouse, Madsen, Rasmussen, Benitz and Nelson; by request of Attorney General
Amending the state Constitution to provide for rights of crime victims.
Senate Committee on Law & Justice
House Committe on Judiciary
AS PASSED LEGISLATURE
There is a perception that the public has lost confidence in the criminal justice system. Many crime victims and witnesses express regret at having become involved in the criminal justice system because they perceive that the system gives greater protection to the rights of the defendant than the victim or witness. A means of encouraging victims and witnesses to cooperate in the prosecution of crime is sought.
At the next general election held in this state, there shall be submitted to the voters an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of the State of Washington adding a new section which enumerates the rights of crime victims.
The victim of a crime charged as a felony has the right to:
(a)be informed of trial and all other court proceedings the defendant has the right to attend;
(b)attend trial and all other court proceedings the defendant has the right to attend, subject to the discretion of the individual presiding over the trial or court proceedings; and
(c)make a statement at sentencing and at any proceeding where the defendant's release is considered.
If the victim is deceased, incompetent, a minor, or otherwise unavailable, the prosecuting attorney may identify a representative to exercise the victim's rights.
Neither the victim nor the victim's representative shall be provided with a court appointed counsel. The amendment shall not constitute a basis for error in a criminal proceeding.
VOTES ON FINAL PASSAGE:
Senate 46 0
House 97 0 (House amended)
Senate 43 0 (Senate concurred)