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National Crime Victim Law Institute

NCVLI Partnering with Public Policy Group to Advance Rights for Victims in Texas

May 24, 2012

In May 2011, NCVLI presented at the Texas state-wide victim assistance conference about the importance of victims’ rights enforcement.  One outcome of that training was the creation of the Texas Advancing Crime Victims’ Rights Workgroup which has the mission of improving Texas’ victims’ rights, which NCVLI continues to actively lend assistance to. 

During a meeting of the workgroup the issue of victim exclusion was raised.  NCVLI provided the workgroup with a legal memorandum analyzing the issue under Texas law as well as a sample pleading that could be filed with a court.  Shortly after, a victim advocate in the workgroup noted that she was working with the victim’s family in a hit and run case scheduled for trial the following week and that the family (traveling from out of state) was scheduled to be excluded despite a desire to be in the courtroom. The victim advocate presented the NCVLI materials to the prosecutor, who after reading the materials, agreed to submit a motion to the court.  The court granted the motion! 

Here is the advocate’s update: “The family stayed in the courtroom the entire time, after having traveled from Pennsylvania.  They were so great to work with—even after such a horrible crime happened to their son, they were compassionate and grateful for everyone.  … I’m thrilled that we fought for their right to be in the court, I can’t imagine having to leave them sitting in the hallway while we talk about what happened to their child.  It makes me happy to know that, as hard as we worked behind the scenes to make that happen, they remained blissfully unaware of that part.  All they know is that they traveled far were treated with compassion and respect, and the person who ran over their child and disabled him is serving 50 years in prison.”  Success!!!!”