The Crime Victim's 'Right' to a Criminal Prosecution: A Proposed Model Statute for the Governance of Private Criminal Prosecution
82 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014
Date Written: 1989
The thesis of this Article is that the public prosecutor should not have a monopoly on criminal prosecutions; some supplementary system of private criminal prosecution should be available. Two such systems, or models, currently exist in New York. The first model, available statewide, theoretically allows a complainant to initiate a non-felony criminal prosecution without any screening by a prosecutor or judge. This system is unwise, unworkable, and illusory because it obscures the exercise of judicial discretion and focuses the court's attention on the wrong issues, usually precluding the crime victim's complaint. The second model, limited by statute to New York City, allows an aggrieved person to apply to a judge for the issuance of a criminal complaint. This model, though far preferable to the first model, is in need of substantial refinement. The exercise of judicial discretion should be guided and circumscribed by explicit statutory guidelines. This Article suggests such guidelines in the form of a model statute to govern the initiation and litigation of private criminal prosecutions.
Keywords: model statute, private prosecution, criminal prosecution, direct filing, judicial screening, victim’s rights, citizen complaints, criminal complaints
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation