Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Marsy's Law: Acknowledging Victims of Crime & Their Plight in CA's Courts

For many years, our state and others have operated using two primary yet distinct legal tracks: the criminal justice system and civil litigation. Criminal and civil courts both serve two important yet distinct purposes. Criminal court’s primary objective is to preserve justice in the area of crime by prosecuting criminals and perpetrators while civil courts offer a platform for individuals to bring suit for compensation against other individuals or parties that have wronged them, whether negligently or intentionally.

Marsy’s Law, also known as the Victims’ Bill of Rights, was a law passed by the people of California to provide and expand on rights and protections for victims of crime and their families in connection to the perpetrator’s criminal trial. Named after a young female student at University of California Santa Barbara who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and whose family was forced to suffer through painful parole hearings years after conviction, Marsy’s Law was a constitutional amendment to the State Constitution which gives specific rights to victims of crime including:

  • The right to legal standing to be heard and/or represented in the criminal trial
  • Protection from the criminal defendant before, during, and after the criminal trial
  • Proper information of all judicial proceedings concerning the criminal trial
  • Financial and other appropriate restitution
In addition to many other provisions, the law also allows for parole boards far more significant influence on denying parole to certain inmates.

How does Marsy’s Law affect me and my family?

Marsy’s Law is a protection of victims of all crime—not just heinous acts of sexual assault or murder. This includes instances of drunk driving, which often crosses the glass wall of both criminal and civil court proceedings. At Cohn & Swartzon, our attorneys can act as “Marsy’s Law attorneys,” which means that we not only represent victims of injuries caused by crime in a civil court setting for the purpose of recovering compensation, we also advocate on behalf of those same clients in ongoing criminal proceedings concerning the person responsible for their injury.

Our job as your personal injury and Marsy’s Law attorneys is to ensure that your rights and interests are protected in all legal venues. In civil court, this means fighting for maximum recovery in your personal injury case and also ensuring that you and your family are properly and thoroughly represented by appearing on behalf and advocating for you in the criminal proceedings.

If you or a family member has been injured or killed because of someone else’s criminal actions, we want to advocate for your rights on all legal platforms. Contact our firm to learn more about your rights under Marsy’s Law and how our Orange County personal injury attorneys can help you.