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National Crime Victim Law Institute

NCVLI Staff Spotlight: Amy Liu

March 03, 2017

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Amy Liu joined NCVLI’s legal team in 2010. Click here to read Amy’s bio or read on to learn more about Amy in her own words.

Why did you first get interested in working with NCVLI and victims’ rights?

I saw an advertisement offering an online continuing legal education training on introduction to crime victims’ rights. At that point I had been a licensed attorney for more than a decade, and I didn’t know anything about crime victims’ rights. After attending the super informative training (taught by Meg Garvin, NCVLI’s Executive Director), I contacted NCVLI. I was in-between jobs and had some time, so I asked if I could volunteer at the office. That’s how this journey started for me.

What would you most like NCVLI or the victims’ rights movement to accomplish in the next five years? Twenty years?

In the next five years, I would like to see the victims’ rights movement work with the bar examiners—the National Conference of Bar Examiners and individual state bar examiners—to add federal and state crime victims’ rights issues to the criminal law and/or constitutional law questions in all bar exams. When law graduates will be tested on victims’ rights laws, law schools will be required to offer courses that address victims’ rights. When all law graduates know victims’ rights, the victims’ rights community will have a larger pool of attorneys to draw from when we try to secure representation for all crime victims who need and want representation. In twenty years, I would like the victims’ rights movement to advance to a point where something similar to the following would be a common scene in criminal procedural television shows and movies: A police officer, a victim advocate, prosecutor, and/or judge meets the crime victim for the first time and say, “You have many rights as a crime victim, including the rights to receive notice of, be present at, and heard in all criminal proceedings in this case. You have the right to consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you by the court.”

If you could change one thing about the current victims’ rights environment, be it legal, political, public recognition, victim social/psychological services, etc., what would it be?

Currently, this country doesn’t have enough attorneys and non-attorney advocates who have the capacity and specialized knowledge to help all crime victims who need help navigating the justice systems, asserting their rights, and litigating rights enforcement issues as high up the court system as the victims are willing to go. I would like to see the landscape change so that every city–every county–has law firms or victim services organizations with such capacity.

Why should someone else get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?

Take a look at how many criminal defense attorneys practice in your city/county and how many victims’ rights attorneys practice in your city/county. The answer will become obvious: NCVLI and the victims’ rights community truly need your help to spread the word about crime victims’ rights, to increase our capacity to serve crime victims, and to improve the justice systems so that crime victims’ rights are not an afterthought.