The Crime Victim's Right to Attend the Trial: The Reascendant National Consensus
67 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2005
This article contends that crime victims should have an unequivocal right to attend a criminal trial, even in cases where they will be called as witnesses. A victim's right to attend trial has strong historical support, as at common law victims attended trial as private prosecutors. More recently, crime victims' rights legislation passed in the majority of states recognizes the victim's right to attend. Nothing in the Constitution prevents victims from attending trial, and strong public policy reasons support such an approach. Observing the trial can have import therapeutic and other benefits for victims. Any risk of prejudice to a defendant from the possibility of a victim "tailoring" testimony to that of other witnesses can be solved through such means as requiring the victim to testify first and permitting thorough cross-examination by defense counsel.
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