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National Crime Victim Law Institute

NCVLI Working to Prepare Amicus on Important Crime Victim Compensation Issue

March 14, 2012

In a case in North Carolina, the defendant was arrested and tried for murder, after he was discovered carrying the bones of the victim in his backpack. The judge dismissed the charges against the defendant after finding that the prosecution engaged in wrongdoing in releasing the remains of the deceased to the victim’s family.

In reaching this decision, the court conflated victim compensation service (VCS) with the prosecution, calling VCS a “prosecutorial agency” and utterly failed to recognize the critical and unique role that VCS plays in victims lives. The court’s pronouncement could have negative consequences for future victims who truly need help from VCS. 

Fortunately, the state is appealing and NCVLI will participate as amicus.  NCVLI will argue that VCS is not a prosecutorial agency because it does not meet the statutory or commonsense definition of one. Additionally, based on the facts of this case, it is clear that VCS had no relevant contact with the prosecution until after the cremation had occurred.  In preparing the brief, NCVLI is working with pro bono attorney Katie Riggs, who is providing research support.

 

Our amicus briefs educate the courts about how their decisions will impact victims and move us a step closer to ensuring that each case fulfills its potential to improve the landscape for future victims by setting positive legal precedent.  Donate today to help us build a better future for victims!