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Why Victims’ Rights Should Be Limited

Victims' Rights


In our current criminal justice system the prosecution brings criminal charges and not the victims of the crimes. This is an important concept. It is extremely important that the power to bring charges rest with the government and not the victim for four reasons: 1) The government is in a more neutral position to investigate a case, and determine if there is sufficient amount of evidence to make an arrest, and bring charges; 2) The government is in a better position to use their discretion in determining which charges are fair to bring, where a victim seeking vengeance would likely over charge the defendant; 3) With the government being one step removed from the case emotionally is in a better position to make a fair plea offer, and seek a fair sentence; and 4) With the government bringing all the charges they are in a better position to achieve consistency in determining an appropriate punishment, since similarly situated people, who commit similar crimes should receive similar sentences. In the end prosecutors are in an all around better position to administer justice then victims.


This is not to say that victims should not have any rights. In fact many of the rights that most people agree victims should have were policies of prosecutors long before these rights existed. This includes the right to give input to the prosecutor, as well as the right to be heard by the court. However victim rights invade on a prosecutors role as the administrator of justice when they have the role to go beyond being heard, and our justice is no longer about seeking justice but revenge.


In conclusion victims should have the right to be heard. But should not be allow to drive criminal prosecution. To give victims more then the right to be heard would derail prosecutors from their role to seek justice.