Friday, November 7, 2014
Elizabeth N. Jones (Western State College of Law) has posted The Ascending Role of Crime Victims in Plea-Bargaining and Beyond (West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 117, No. 100, 2014)
This Article looks to the nationwide trend of promoting a victims’ rights agenda alongside three recent United States Supreme Court opinions affirming defendants’ rights during various stages of the plea-bargaining process, in an attempt to harmonize these seemingly anomalous rights. The three Supreme Court decisions focusing on defendants’ rights in the plea-bargaining context highlight the need to consider victims’ rights in that same milieu and to further guarantee victims the right to meaningful participation in all aspects of a criminal prosecution. Particularly as the constitutional rights of victims become further defined and embedded into the criminal justice system, ensuring a proper role for the crime victim is of timely and crucial concern.Though crime victims’ rights (or lack thereof) are demonstrated through the critical stage of plea-bargaining, this phase of the criminal justice process can be considered a vehicle for the larger platform of victims’ rights in general. It sets the stage for the broader query as to whether and when victims of crime, like their assailants, will finally be granted a full panoply of constitutional rights.