Fighting for Victims’ Access to Justice
February 26, 2014
An Oregon attorney representing a minor victim pro bono after the victim was badly beaten in his high school parking lot contacted NCVLI seeking assistance after his request to access the police report in the case was denied. The argument: because it is a juvenile proceeding (the defendant was 17) confidentiality precludes releasing it – even to the victim. As in criminal proceedings, victims have rights in Oregon in juvenile justice proceedings. Among those rights are the rights to be notified, present, and heard; to be protected; to restitution; and more. Protecting these rights requires that a victim and his/her attorney know what everyone else in the case knows – which means knowing what is in case documents, including police reports. Allowing victim access to this information does not equate to public access as victims have constitutional rights that require their access.
NCVLI provided the attorney with legal research and arguments setting forth these positions. Relying on this information, the victim’s counsel renewed his request for the police reports and we just learned he was granted access. He feels much more confident that he can protect his clients rights now! In his words – “Thanks for the excellent memo… . . Thanks much to you from me and my clients.”
NCVLI is here to help. If you are an attorney and need assistance with a case, click here.