Victims Rights Update


People v. Fouts, 2001 WL 265181 (Mar. 15, 2001, Ill.App. 3 Dist.)

Under the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections authorizes a judge to order restitution for the lost wages of a sexual assault victim's mother. The victim was mentally incompetent, and so the court properly found that her mother was a "victim" under the Code.

People v. Harris, 2001 WL 265183 (Mar. 15, 2001, Ill.App. 3 Dist)

The restitution portions of the Illinois Unified Code of Corrections have been liberally construed, and so it was appropriate for the court to order the defendant to pay a murder victim's family the costs associated with flying in from out of state to attend the funeral.


State v. Ring, 2001 WL 201810 (Tenn. Crim. App., March 1, 2001) UNPUBLISHED OPINION Tennessee Victim's Rights legislation requires that a trial judge allow a victim to testify and/or give a written statement at sentencing, and that the trial judge should consider that statement as it weighs on all aspects of the sentence. In this case, the trial court erred by only considering the victim's statement as to the length of sentence and not the nature of the service, but the error was harmless, because the sentence was appropriate even when the statement was considered.


Matheny v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 2001 WL 175219 (Ky., Feb. 22, 2001)

The Commonwealth attorney withdrew its plea offer during the sentencing hearing, apparently when the attorney talked to one of the defendant's victims for the first time. The Kentucky Supreme Court held that the Commonwealth was bound by its plea agreement, despite the victim's opinion, even though the victim was free to testify, and the trial court was free to depart from the plea agreement based on the victim's testimony.

Thanks to Nathaniel Zylstra of Yale Law School for his research on this topic.


2003 The Federalist Society