Conn. Panel Wants Timely Court Notifications For Crime Victims

Dec 18, 2014

A Connecticut victim’s rights commission wants state legislators to pass a law that gives crime victims the right to be informed about details of court proceedings.

James Clark, Executive Director of Victims' Rights Center of Connecticut, at the Victims' Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission meeting at the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Wednesday Dec. 17, 2014.
Credit CT-N Connecticut Network

The Victims' Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission agreed to the recommendation on Wednesday.

The new law was recommended by James Clark, the executive director of the Victims' Rights Center of Connecticut. The new law is needed because prosecutors often fail to notify crime victims about court proceedings in a timely manner, preventing them from exercising their right to attend court proceedings, he said.

“These are working people. They can’t necessarily show up with two days notice. And I’ve seen in court where I used to work an expectation that it be a couple of hours notice. I think it has to be timely,” Clark said

But Clark’s recommendation was questioned by another member of the Victims' Rights Enforcement Commission. Judge Elliot Solomon, the Deputy Chief Court Administrator, argued that victims might not need to be at some pre-trial hearings.

"I think that is going to hamper the ability of both counsel to speak freely, particularly if it’s not a representative but the victim himself or herself who wants to be there," Solomon told the commission.

The recommendation is to be included in a package of proposed legislation for lawmakers to consider in the upcoming state legislative session that begins in January.