Proposed Victims' Rights Amendment


Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring herein), that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid for all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission by the Congress:

Section 1

Victims of crimes of violence and other crimes that Congress and the States may define by law pursuant to Section 3, shall have the rights to notice of and not to be excluded from all public proceedings relating to the crime; to be heard if present and to submit a statement at a public pre-trial or trial proceeding to determine a release from custody, an acceptance of a negotiated plea, or a sentence; to these rights at a parole proceeding to the extent they are afforded to the convicted offender; to notice of a release pursuant to a public or parole proceeding or an escape; to a final disposition free from unreasonable delay; to an order of restitution from the convicted offender; to have the safety of the victim considered in determining a release from custody; and to notice of the rights established by this article.

Section 2

The victim shall have standing to assert the rights established by this article; however, nothing in this article shall provide grounds for the victim to challenge a charging decision or a conviction, obtain a stay of trial, or compel any new trial; nor shall anything in this article give rise to a claim for damages against the United States, a State, a political subdivision, or a public official; nor shall anything in this article provide grounds for the accused or convicted offender to obtain any form of relief.

Section 3

The Congress and the States shall have the power to enforce this article within their respective federal and state jurisdictions by appropriate legislation, including the power to enact exceptions when required for compelling reasons of public safety.

Section 4

The rights established by this article shall be applicable to all proceedings occurring after ratification of this article.

Section 5

The rights established by this article shall apply in all federal, state, military, and juvenile justice proceedings, and shall also apply to victims in the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.


2001 The Federalist Society