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State Victims' Rights Amendments


The Illinois Crime Victims' Bill of Rights Amendment was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Illinois as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was overwhelmingly approved. The measure was designed to strengthen the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. Specifically, the amendment was meant to guarantee the following:[1]

  • A victim’s right to be free from harassment, intimidation and abuse throughout the criminal trial process.
  • A victim’s right to notice and to a hearing before a court ruling on access to any of the victim’s records, information or communications.
  • A victim’s right to be heard at any post-arraignment court proceeding in which a victim’s right is at issue and at any court proceeding involving a post-arraignment release decision, plea or sentencing.
  • A consideration of the safety of the victim and their family in determining bail and conditions of release after arrest and conviction of the defendant.
  • That the accused does not have standing to assert the rights of a victim.

In order to be ratified, this measure had to be approved by either three-fifths of those voting on the question or by a majority of people voting in the election, whichever is less.

  • A state Constitutional Amendment for Victims' Rights was passed in November, 1992.
  • The amendment was passed by 77% of voters.

Amendment Text:

Article 1, Section 8.1 – CRIME VICTIM'S RIGHTS
a. Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law:

  1. The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
  2. The right to notification of court proceedings.
  3. The right to communicate with the prosecution.
  4. The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
  5. The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.
  6. The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused;
  7. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
  8. The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial.
  9. The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim's choice.
  10. The right to restitution.

b. The General Assembly may provided by law for the enforcement of this Section.

c. The General Assembly may provide for an assessment against convicted defendants to pay for crime victims' rights.

d. Nothing in this Section or in any law enacted under this Section shall be construed as creating a basis for vacating a conviction or a ground for appellate relief in any criminal case.

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