March 31, 2018

Victim Notification

The ABA expressed support last month for bills in the Maryland House and Senate regarding a Pretrial Release Services Program that addresses victim notification. The bills, H.B. 1520 and S.B. 766, would direct judicial officers during the pretrial release process to provide victims with notice of any crime charged and, if the defendant is released, with notice of the conditions of release. The legislation also would provide victims with information on how to report any violations of the conditions and how to request changes to the conditions. In letters sent Feb. 28 to the Maryland House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman emphasized ABA support for Maryland’s effort to give crime victims information about pretrial release decisions and wrote that the ABA strongly supports providing victims of crimes with information throughout the criminal justice process. He explained that pretrial release comprises an entire volume of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, which are the result of a collaboration between prosecutors, defenders, judges, and academics working with the ABA on critical criminal justice issues. The Maryland bills are consistent with Standard 10-6.1 (Notice to Victims of Crime) of the ABA standards, Susman said, and he urged passage of legislation “that recognizes the importance of providing relevant information to victims to help ensure their safety.”

 

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