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Criminal Law

This group of events, news, and resources comes directly from National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) and the student chapter of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Criminal Law News & Resources

  • The National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC), located in Huntsville, Alabama, revolutionized the United States’ response to child sexual abuse. Since its creation in 1985, the NCAC has served as a model for the 1000+ Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) now operating in the United States and in more than 27 countries throughout the world. The site has resources for kids, parents and professionals.
  • Defendant was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement for conduct arising out of his employment.  Represented by counsel, the employer-victim initiated a parallel civil proceeding arising from the same facts alleged in the criminal case.  The employer-victim, and the law firm representing it, filed a writ of mandate petitioning the appellate court to vacate the criminal court’s order stating that the law firm was a member of the prosecution’s team and was subject to Brady’s disclosure requirements.  The appellate court explained that pursuant to Brady: “A prosecutor has a duty to search for and disclose exculpatory evidence if the evidence is possessed by a person or agency that has been used by the prosecutor or the investigating agency to assist the prosecution or the investigating agency in its work.  The important determinant is whether the person or agency has been ‘acting on the government’s behalf.’”  The trial court primarily relied on three factors in deciding that the victim’s attorney’s firm was a member of the prosecution’s team: (1) email correspondence with case citations regarding defendant’s ratification defense; (2) email correspondence asking for elements of the crimes defendant would be charged with to include in the civil deposition; and (3) the government’s expressed need and inability to pay for a forensic accountant’s audit, which was then procured and financed by the victim.  The court of appeals analyzed the issue in the context of agents and principals: “the issue, in essence, is whether the prosecution has exercised such a degree of control over the nongovernmental actor or witness that the actor or witness’s actions should be deemed to be those of the prosecution for purposes of Brady compliance.”  The court noted that there is no published case holding that a private party that is also a crime victim qualifies as a member of the prosecution team for purposes of Brady.  The court then held that members of the victim’s attorney’s firm were merely acting on behalf of a cooperating witness and their actions were consistent with the general right of crime victims to confer with the prosecution regarding defendant’s charges. 
  • Defendant was convicted of second degree possession of an assault firearm, fourth degree possession of a large capacity magazine, and fourth degree possession of a handgun following conviction for possessing a controlled dangerous substance, and sentenced to an aggregate term of thirteen years.  The trial court had earlier severed additional counts that stemmed from the same incident involving the victim—defendant’s former girlfriend—including counts of third degree terroristic threats and fourth degree aggravated assault by pointing a firearm at or in the direction of another. Defendant appealed his convictions, arguing, inter alia, that he was prejudiced by the trial court’s failure to appropriately address the victim’s behavior while testifying as a witness—behavior that included continuously responding to defense counsel’s questions in a disruptive manner, disregarding the prosecutor’s instructions, deliberately mentioning extraneous information that was prejudicial to defendant, and walking out of the courtroom during her cross-examination on the first day of trial.  The court agreed with defendant, vacated his convictions, and remanded for further proceedings.  The court found that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to declare a mistrial. 
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    In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, NAVRA - NCVLI’s membership alliance - is proud to offer two trainings in October. Click here to learn more

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    Click here to view the full 2016-2017 Annual Report!
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    Click here to read the latest global news & media affecting crime victims.
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    NCVLI Staff Spotlight: Bernette Jenkins-Pleas
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    This past year we asked: What can we accomplish if we raise our voices for justice? We challenged ourselves to get loud, be heard, and make a difference for victims. The
    community rose to the challenge! Click here to read our latest annual report.
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    In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, NAVRA, NCVLI’s membership alliance committed to the protection, enforcement, and advancement of crime victims’ rights nationwide, is offering two trainings in October. Click here to learn more.
  • In 2012, the Office for Victims of Crime began funding the creation of legal assistance networks across the country to provide holistic, wraparound, no-cost legal assistance to address the full scope of victims’ needs.  Six Networks were funded.  In 2014, OVC funded a second group of Networks.  By mid-2017 seven of the 10 Networks have completed a methodical process of identifying needs and gaps and designing a Network structure that effectively provides responsive services to victims.  In the first half of 2017, these seven Networks and their 86 partner agencies were available to help 4,075 victims seeking assistance.  The remaining three Networks are beginning services shortly!