There has been a lot of discussion in the local and national press about victim’s rights. It all started after Judge Hatch of Coconino County was sentencing David Evans a former DPS officer for sex abuse. During sentencing, Hatch stated to the victim: “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.”
That statement caused a local and national clamor for Judge Hatch to resign since the statement seemed to blame the victim for being sexually abused. The victim and victim advocate groups called for Judge Hatch to make an apology which she later did. This case is a prime example of why the Arizona Constitution and Arizona Revised Statutes created laws protecting victim’s rights.
The Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.1. Victims’ Bill of Right states that a victim of crime has a right to “be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process.” This is just one of many provisions of the Victims’ Bill of Right, the whole text can be found here.
The Arizona Revised Statute defines a victim as “a person whom the criminal offense has been committed, including a minor, or if the person is killed or incapacitated, the person’s spouse, parent, child, grandparent or sibling…”, the relevant statutes can be found here, under A.R.S 13-4401 through 13-4441.
Being a victim of a crime can be a traumatizing time and there are many resources available for victims to protect their rights. If you are a victim of crime you can visit Victim Witness Services of Coconino County at their website. You may need an attorney to help protect your right as a victim. The Law Office of Gonzales & Poirier represents victims of crimes throughout the criminal process and we can assist in navigating you through these tough times. Call us at 928-774-5400 if you need assistance.