Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN KROGER TESTIFIES IN FAVOR OF CRIME VICTIMS' BILL

April 29, 2009

The testimony comes during Crime Victims' Right Week.

Attorney General John Kroger today called for the passage of Senate Bill 233, a crucial piece of legislation that will protect the constitutional rights of crime victims.

"This bill makes Oregon a national leader in crime victims' rights. That's why I'm giving it my full support," said Attorney General Kroger.

Last year, Oregon voters approved two constitutional amendments that allow crime victims to go to court to protect their rights. For a decade, crime victims have had constitutional rights, including the right to be informed of all proceedings, the right to be in court and the right to testify.

SB 233 provides the legal structure for crime victims to go to court and make those promised rights a reality.

"SB 233 secures Oregon's place as a leader in the field of victims' rights," said Meg Garvin, executive director of National Crime Victim Law Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School. "Many states have constitutional and statutory rights for victims, but SB 233 is unique because it provides a roadmap for everyone in the system - judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims - regarding what enforceable victims' rights look like in practice. SB 233 represents the first comprehensive legislative effort in the country to provide such a roadmap. Oregon crime victims and the entire Oregon criminal justice system will be well served by this legislation."

The bill's hearing in the House Judiciary Committee is part of Crime Victims' Rights Week. In addition to the hearing, crime victims' advocates are holding a series of events, including a rally in support of crime victims on the Capitol steps at noon on Thursday, an informational day at the Capitol, an awards ceremony and a legal training session in Portland.

The Judiciary Committee is also holding hearings today on SB 212, which clarifies the eligibility requirements for grants made to victims' assistance programs in district and city attorney's offices; and SB 218, which enhances crime victims' compensation benefits.

The Oregon Department of Justice's Crime Victims' Services Division provides direct assistance to victims of violent crime and distributes state and federal funds to non-profit and government victims' assistance programs throughout the state.

The mission of the Crime Victims' Services Division is to reduce the impact of crime on victims' lives by supporting statewide victim services programs, promoting victims' rights and providing victims access to information and resources in a compassionate, responsive and dedicated manner.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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