Michigan's Crime Victims' Law is a Little Known Tool for Crime Victims
For Immediate Release
| Posted Feb 04, 2012
In the 2012 State of the State address
, Governor Snyder announced that statewide crime is down but noted that Saginaw, Flint, Detroit and Pontiac
are among the nationís top 10 in violent crime. While state programs and policies are changing to address the crime rates, it is critical to remember that in the meantime for every criminal act there is a new unsuspecting crime victim.
However, state law gives crime victims an excellent tool to take charge.
Michigan law does afford crime victims a broad variety of victims rights, which can be utilized if requested. Among the rights specifically provided under the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victimís Rights Act
, crime victims are entitled to restitution to be made whole, certain notifications, and across-the-board participation in all stages of the criminal justice process for felonies, serious misdemeanors, and certain juvenile offenses.
Crime victims are specifically entitled to:
- restitution of losses suffered and the power to seize the criminalís assets
- have property returned
- confer with the prosecution
- attend trial and all other court proceedings of the accused
- make an oral or written statement to the court at sentencing or certain adminstrative reviews
- notification of all court proceedings
- timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused
- reasonable protection from the accused throughout the criminal justice process
- information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, escape, and release of the accused including that would otherwise be closed to public inspection.
While some county prosecutors actively notify Michigan crime victims of these rights, others do not leaving crime victims to take action through their own attorney. Many of these provided rights are enforceable against the criminal and/or the prosecutor with the assistance of a civil attorney.
Additionally, the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission
administers a limited compensation program of last resort for medical bills, loss earnings, rehabilitation, and examinations. However, the program does not cover any property losses, pain and suffering, or relocation costs.
All told, Michigan's crime victims' law is a powerful tool for the victims of crimes for unlawful acts of criminals, but only if utilized. For more information, contact a crime victimsí rights attorney or call the office of your local prosecuting attorney.
Philip L. Ellison, MBA, JD, Esq is an attorney, business counselor, and civil litigator with Michigan-based Outside Legal Counsel PLC. He has represented and empowered crime victims in various Michigan courts. Visit his online profile at www.olcplc.com.