Victims' Rights and Backlog Reduction Laws
Right to Timely Disposition
Just as defendants are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial, a number of states have passed laws containing provisions giving victims of crime the right to the timely disposition of their cases. In states where victims’ rights are not contingent on the arrest of the perpetrator or the filing of charges, sexual assault victims whose sexual assault kits have remained untested for long periods of time may be able to argue that they have not been afforded their right to the timely disposition of their cases under the law.
The following are examples of the right to the timely disposition that might apply:
Kan. Stat. Ann. §74-7333. Bill of rights for victims of crime.
(a) In order to ensure the fair and compassionate treatment of victims of crime and to increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by affording victims of crime certain basic rights and considerations, victims of crime shall have the following rights:
(1) Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and with respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum of necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system.
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 258B, §3. Rights afforded victims witnesses or family members.
To provide victims a meaningful role in the criminal justice system, victims and witnesses of crime, or in the event the victim is deceased, the family members of the victim, shall be afforded the following basic and fundamental rights, to the greatest extent possible and subject to appropriation and to available resources, with priority for services to be provided to victims of crimes against the person and crimes where physical injury to a person results:
(f) for victims and witnesses, to a prompt disposition of the case in which they are involved as a victim or a witness;
Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-1848. Victims and witnesses of crimes; rights; enumerated
(2) Victims and witnesses of crimes shall have the following rights:
(i) To be entitled to a speedy disposition of the case in which they are involved as a victim or witness in order to minimize the length of time they must endure the stress of their responsibilities in connection with the matter;