CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"The Crime Victims Rights Act and the Epstein Case"

Kent Scheidegger has this post at Crime & Consequences. In part:

The Crime Victims Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3771, is a routinely violated law. It confers rights on victims in federal criminal cases and in federal habeas corpus cases challenging state convictions, but victims rarely have their own attorneys in these matters, so there is generally no one to speak up for the victims in cases where the prosecutor chooses not to.

A particularly egregious violation occurred in the case of Florida's billionaire serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The U.S. Attorney reached an agreement not to prosecute Epstein and leave him to state prosecution. That might not be so bad in itself, as the crimes are primarily of the type that should be prosecuted in state court. The "dual sovereignty" doctrine permits prosecution by both sovereigns for the same act, but it should be used sparingly. In this case, though, the feds let him off merely for reaching a state plea deal with a shockingly low sentence. Jacob Gershman reports for the WSJ.

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