victims rights, rights of victims to have a role in the prosecution of the perpetrators of crimes against them. Nearly all U.S. states have enacted some victims rights legislation. Such laws typically ensure that victims receive respectful and compassionate treatment, that they are informed at critical stages of the criminal prosecution, and that their courtroom attendance and comments are invited when appropriate. Some critics have voiced the fear that such laws influence the outcome of trials by assuming the accused is guilty.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.