February 21, 2013

NCVLI Board Member Spotlight: Carl Davis

Board Member Carl Davis shares how he became involved with NCVLI and what he finds important about victims’ rights.

The compassionate, devoted members of NCVLI’s Board of Directors come from all walks of life, and many bring the perspective of personal experience with victimization to their work for victims.  In this NCVLI Board Member Spotlight, we aim to share with the community a glimpse into the insights of the people working behind the scenes to help shape NCVLI’s work for victims.

Board Member Carl Davis shares how he became involved with NCVLI and what he finds important about victims’ rights.

Why did you first get interested in working with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
During the early part of my legal career I spent seven years working as a prosecutor for Multnomah County in Portland.  Although victims of crimes had no guaranteed rights at that time, our office had a philosophy of working closely with victims throughout the judicial process and including them in the various phases of the case, to the extent that the courts would allow.  In fact, the Multnomah County DA’s office was one of the first in the country to establish a victims’ advocate department where trained professionals and volunteers worked to support victims and accompany them throughout the pendency of a case.  During my tenure I handled some of the highest profile cases in the office and became very cognizant of the multitude of issues and problems that a victim had to endure to see that justice was done.  Years later when I was approached by NCVLI to join its Board, I felt it offered me the opportunity to once again work on behalf of victims to assure that they would be treated appropriately throughout the judicial process.

As an organization what is NCVLI’s greatest strength?
The staff and Board of NCVLI are all devoted individuals who believe strongly in their mission to assure that victims of crime have a voice and are treated with the respect they deserve in the criminal process.  Many of the members of the organization have been victims themselves or have otherwise been involved in the criminal justice system.  They are empathetic with the plight of victims and are committed in their approach to obtain and enforce rights for all victims.

What motivates you to do the work on the Board?
Having worked so closely with many victims during my years as a prosecutor and then being a victim of crime myself when my first wife was killed by a drunk driver, I feel I have a unique perspective on how victims can be mistreated by the criminal justice process.  Victims should not be re-victimized by the legal process. That is what NCVLI is striving to prevent.

When someone asks you what NCVLI does or why victims’ rights are important, what do you tell them?
Defendants in a criminal case are guaranteed a multitude of rights to assure that a conviction and sentencing are appropriate.  On the other hand, victims of a crime traditionally had no rights other than what an individual court might periodically afford them.  NCVLI has become one of the leading advocates for victims of crime, securing and enforcing rights for those victims.  No other organization or individual knows the laws about victims’ rights as well or works harder to make sure those rights are protected and enforced.

Why should someone else get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
No one volunteers to be the victim of crime.  Unfortunately, in our society crime is as prevalent as cancer.  You’ve either been a victim yourself or you know someone who has.  In either case, that person should have certain rights and be treated with respect throughout the process.  Criminal victims have a tremendous ally in NCVLI.  Your involvement with the organization can help to further and to protect the rights that the next victim of crime will need to be able to navigate through the criminal justice system.