Victims' Rights and Backlog Reduction Laws
Right to Apply for Compensation
Recently, public attention has focused on the large number of sexual assault forensic examination kits that have remained untested for 10, 15, or even 20 years or more. As states attempt to eliminate this backlog of kits, more survivors are being notified that a DNA match has identified the perpetrator in their cases years after the crime was committed. Being contacted years or even decades after the assault can be traumatic for survivors. While most state compensation programs have filing deadlines for compensation applications, a number of them have the authority to extend this deadline for “good cause” for any period of time.
The following are examples of the rights that these sexual assault victims may have regarding their eligibility for crime victim compensation:
Cal. Gov’t Code §13953. Time to file; extension of time; tolling.
(a) An application for compensation shall be filed within one year of the date of the crime, one year after the victim attains 18 years of age, or one year of the time the victim or derivative victim knew or in the exercise of ordinary diligence could have discovered that an injury or death had been sustained as a direct result of crime, whichever is later. An application based on any crime eligible for prosecution under Section 801.1 of the Penal Code may be filed any time prior to the victim's 28th birthday.
(b) The board may for good cause grant an extension of the time period in subdivision (a) In making this determination, the board may consider any relevant factors, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) A recommendation from the prosecuting attorney regarding the victim's or derivative victim's cooperation with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney in the apprehension and prosecution of the person charged with the crime.
(2) Whether particular events occurring during the prosecution or in the punishment of the person convicted of the crime have resulted in the victim or derivative victim incurring pecuniary loss.
(3) Whether the nature of the crime is such that a delayed reporting of the crime is reasonably excusable.
(c) The period prescribed in this section for filing an application by or on behalf of a derivative victim shall be tolled when the board accepts the application filed by a victim of the same qualifying crime.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 56.37. Time for Filing.
(a) Except as otherwise provided by this article, a claimant or victim must file an application not later than three years from the date of the criminally injurious conduct.
(b) The attorney general may extend the time for filing for good cause shown by the claimant or victim.