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National Crime Victim Law Institute

No Turning Back The Clock

July 07, 2017

Courts have long recognized and protected crime victims’ right to not speak with the defense pretrial. This week, with Arizona Crime Victim Rights Law Group and Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence, we filed an amici curiae brief in federal court to protect this right. In the case, plaintiffs (a collection of defense attorneys) argued that an Arizona provision which requires the defense to initiate contact with victims through the prosecutor’s office violates their First Amendment rights.  They made this argument despite the fact that a prosecutor has a legal obligation to promptly inform victims of any and all defense requests for an interview. Citing myriad victims’ rights and social science research evidencing that unwanted contacts exposes victims to re-victimization, Amici urged the federal court to deny plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and grant the motion to dismiss. Amici argued that Arizona has a compelling interest in protecting its comprehensive and well-developed victims’ rights laws that work together to ensure victims access to justice.  The case is pending - we will keep you posted!

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