Riverside & Orange County Marsy’s Law Advocates
As a victim in a criminal case, you could be frightened and anxious that the suspect will be released, therefore able to harm you again. You might also want to know the details of the criminal case regarding the person who harmed you. You could further want to obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses. The California Legislature in Sacramento amended the California Constitution to address these concerns and more. Many Courthouses also have a Victim’s Rights Advocate who can explain these rights, ensuring the provisions of the law are fully available to all victims of crime.
If you or a loved one have been victimized through a form of sexual assault or molestation, it is essential to have a Marsy’s Law Attorney advocating for your interests throughout the legal system. The defense attorney in a criminal case is looking out for his or her client, attempting to exonerate him or her of any wrongdoing. The California District Attorney’s office is focused on protecting the community and placing the defendant in prison. Who is advocating for your interests? The attorneys at Greenberg & Greenberg are experienced and ready to advocate for your interests and want to see you protected.
What is Marsy’s Law?
Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas was a young University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One short week after Marsy’s murder, her mother walked into a local grocery store after visiting Marsy’s grave, where she was unexpectedly confronted by her daughter’s accused murderer. Since Marsy’s mother had no idea the man had been released on bail, the encounter was jarring, to say the least. Unfortunately, scenarios just like this were all-too-common because courts and law enforcement had no obligation to keep family members informed of the status of the accused. In other words, while an accused killer had a multitude of rights, spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, the surviving family members had virtually none.
The passage of Marsy’s Law changed this in California, and later in Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Marsy’s Law dictates that victims of crime in all these states must be treated with respect and dignity by the criminal justice system. This means that courts are required to consider the safety of victims and families when they are setting bail and/or release conditions. Further, family members now have legal standing in parole hearings, sentencings, pleas, and bail hearings. Marsy’s brother believes Marsy’s Law provides a more compassionate criminal justice system for California victims of crime.
In the state of California, Marsy’s Law protects victims of child molestation and sexual assault. Marsy’s Law was passed into the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, and later became an Amendment to the California Constitution and the California Penal Code. Marsy’s Law both protects the legal rights of victims of crime as well as expanding those rights to include 17 individual rights throughout the judicial process including:
- The right to protection from the Defendant;
- The right to notification of all court proceedings;
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to have the safety and the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered when bail and release conditions are being set;
- The right to have the disclosure of confidential information or records to the Defendant prevented;
- The right to refuse an interview, deposition or discovery request by the Defendant;
- The right to receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when available to the Defendant;
- The right to be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration of the Defendant, as well as the release of or escape by the Defendant;
- The right to seek restitution for losses suffered as a result of criminal activity;
- The right to be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, and to provide information to the parole authority;
- To have the safety of the victim, the victim’s family, and the general public considered prior to any parole or other post-judgment release decision, and
- Additional rights as detailed.
Founding Plaintiff’s Partner, Elan Zektser has a unique amount of experience in cases where a child or woman is sexually victimized. Elan Zektser has handled hundreds of cases as the lead attorney, advocating for children’s and women’s rights at schools, during police investigations, and throughout the lengthy court process. If you or a loved one has been sexually victimized, Elan Zektser will stand by your side, advocating for your interests.
Victim Restitution vs. Filing a Civil Suit
Victim restitution allows victims of crime to obtain monetary payments from the person who committed the crime which hurt them or a member of their family. Victim restitution cannot occur without a conviction in the case. This can come in the form of a plea bargain, a plea of no contest or a finding of guilty by a judge or a jury. Once a conviction has occurred, the victim will then communicate his or her losses (medical bills, therapy costs, lost income, damaged or stolen property or damage to a business or property) to the court, the prosecuting attorney or the probation department. Victim restitution can be ordered to the victim within a matter of weeks from the time of the criminal conviction, and, unlike a civil suit, the victim is not required to answer personal questions under oath (often in front of the accused). Most importantly, obtaining victim restitution does not bar you from filing a civil lawsuit as well, rather can be used to increase the total recovery amount.
Getting Help from a Greenberg & Greenberg Attorney as a Victim of a Crime
The lawyers at Greenberg & Greenberg believe strongly in the rights of victims of criminal acts. We will always be the advocate in your corner who will fight aggressively for your rights and will work hard to obtain monetary compensation on your behalf. We understand that in the aftermath of a violent crime you can be frightened, anxious and stressed, and may have suffered serious physical injuries following an attack. The Greenberg & Greenberg attorneys have compassion for your situation and will use all our legal knowledge and experience to help your current situation as well as your future.