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Victims Rights

NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | March 23, 1997
WASHINGTON -- America's crime victims, who have long felt rudely shoved aside when the government prosecuted their offenders, are suddenly gaining visibility and influence in the process.They insist they do not want veto power over how prosecutors deal with criminals, but they do want a voice -- and they want a guaranteed chance to observe throughout. More and more, that's exactly what they are getting.When Timothy J. McVeigh goes on trial in Denver later this month in the bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building, for example, victims' families back home in Oklahoma will be able to watch on closed-circuit television.
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NEWS
By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE | June 26, 1996
WASHINGTON -- President Clinton endorsed amending the Constitution to protect the rights of crime victims, saying they should have as many rights as accused criminals in the courts."
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | June 21, 1996
WASHINGTON -- Having opposed every other proposed constitutional amendment during his term, President Clinton now intends to support one guaranteeing crime victims the right to be notified of and heard at court proceedings involving defendants in their cases, administration officials say.Although civil libertarians and some experts in the Justice Department oppose such an amendment as a dangerous cluttering of the Constitution, and though about 20 states...
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | June 12, 1996
The state's highest court gave prosecutors greater latitude yesterday in using photos of crime victims to sway juries, a ruling hailed by victims' rights advocates.The Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 that victims' photos need not carry "essential evidentiary value," but may be shown to jurors if the judge finds they are relevant and help a prosecutor's case.The court said Frederick County Circuit Judge Herbert L. Rollins was right to allow jurors to see photos of an 11-year-old boy before they convicted Paul Broberg of killing him in an April 25, 1993, drunken driving accident.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,SUN STAFF | April 4, 1996
Critics of the justice system often say that criminals have more rights than victims. Yesterday, the Maryland General Assembly tried to correct that perceived imbalance.By an overwhelming margin, the House of Delegates gave final legislative approval to a bill that, for the first time, would permit victims or relatives to speak at the parole hearings of assailants. Proponents hailed the bill's passage as a major step for victims' rights in the state.Sue Mathis, a crime victim from Baltimore County who proposed the bill, said it would allow victims to explain how crimes had affected them and express their fears about an assailant's release.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,SUN STAFF | February 15, 1996
In a continuing effort to expand their legal rights, crime victims are pushing a bill in the legislature that would allow them to speak at their assailants' parole hearings.Supporters say the measure would permit victims to explain how crimes have affected them and express fears about a criminal's release."I'm not asking for any more rights for victims than criminals have -- only equal rights," crime victim Sue Mathis told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee this week.Ms. Mathis' former husband is serving 30 years for nearly stabbing her to death with a hunting knife in 1986.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,SUN STAFF | January 31, 1996
Victims' rights groups sharply criticized the 120-day jail term given yesterday by a Howard County judge to a 52-year-old accountant in the 1993 chloroform death of his 20-year-old girlfriend.Melvin Robert Bowers, formerly of Ellicott City, could have received 10 years in prison for his Nov. 8 involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of Geneva Marie Hodge of Baltimore. She died after Bowers put a chloroform-soaked rag over her nose and mouth and fell asleep, leaving the rag in place.
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | October 30, 1995
An article in yesterday's editions misspelled the name of the lawyer representing a defendant convicted in the death of a Buckeystown youth in a 1993 drunken driving accident. Paul E. Broberg's lawyer is Kevin Hessler of Rockville.The Sun regrets the errors.Thomas Blank broke down in tears when prosecutors showed him a photo of his 11-year-old son as the Buckeystown quarry worker testified against the drunken driver accused in the boy's death.It didn't take long for the Frederick County jurors who saw the photograph and the father's reaction to convict Paul E. Broberg in the April 25, 1993, death.
FEATURES
By Sandra Crockett and Sandra Crockett,Sun Staff Writer | June 26, 1995
For a long time, Evelyn "Fran" Barrett felt guilty for being alive. She knew it was wrong, insanely wrong, to feel that way. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling. Fran Barrett survived the car wreck. Her husband, Jerry, did not. And neither did her 11-year-old nephew, Jimmy Cianos.Fran had done everything she could to help save her husband and her sister's son. She had dragged their mangled bodies from the burning pickup truck seconds before it exploded. But Jerry and Jimmy were already dead -- the victims of an accident caused by a drunk driver.
NEWS
June 19, 1995
A trial centers around a person accused of a crime. His constitutional right to a fair hearing is paramount.That is the cornerstone upon which our entire system of justice rests. It is not difficult to see, however, why victims of crimes often find the trial process frustrating. They have been hurt, yet all the court's attention focuses on the person who allegedly did the hurting.For some time now, victims who ask, "What about our rights?" have gotten a sympathetic ear from politicians and voters, both of whom overwhelmingly supported a victims' rights amendment to the state constitution in last November's elections.
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