(PHOENIX, AZ) November 29, 2010 – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Arizona’s Victims’ Bill of Rights today by reiterating his commitment to be a strong advocate for victims of crime and to support vigilance in protecting their rights. Montgomery’s pledge echoes a central theme of his recent successful election campaign.
“Beginning with Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime in the early 80s, crime victims have moved from being just another piece of courtroom evidence to being recognized as a concerned part of our criminal justice system,” Montgomery stated. “Nonetheless, we have a long way to go to ensure their rights are fully protected as we endeavor to do for those charged with crimes. When we reach that point, we can say with confidence that we have a system that truly delivers justice for all,” he added.
With the passage of Proposition 104 in 1990, Arizona voters approved amending the State Constitution to include a Victims’ Bill of Rights, which was subsequently codified by the State Legislature under Article II, Section 2.1. These rights include the right to be notified of and be heard at criminal proceedings; the right to be informed if the accused or convicted person has been released from custody or has escaped; the right to timely restitution from those convicted of the crime that caused the victim’s loss or injury; and the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
“My administration will be vigilant in advocating for the protection and preservation of the rights of victims of crimes,” Montgomery said. Among the issues Montgomery plans to focus on are efforts to ensure victims are receiving notice of hearings and compensation programs for crime victims.