(a) Rights of Crime Victims. - A crime victim has the following
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any
public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the
crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court
proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and
convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim
would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony
at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding
in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the
Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for
the victim's dignity and privacy.
(b) Rights Afforded. -
(1) In general. - In any court proceeding involving an offense
against a crime victim, the court shall ensure that the crime
victim is afforded the rights described in subsection (a). Before
making a determination described in subsection (a)(3), the court
shall make every effort to permit the fullest attendance possible
by the victim and shall consider reasonable alternatives to the
exclusion of the victim from the criminal proceeding. The reasons
for any decision denying relief under this chapter shall be
clearly stated on the record.
(2) Habeas corpus proceedings. -
(A) In general. - In a Federal habeas corpus proceeding
arising out of a State conviction, the court shall ensure that
a crime victim is afforded the rights described in paragraphs
(3), (4), (7), and (8) of subsection (a).
(B) Enforcement. -
(i) In general. - These rights may be enforced by the crime
victim or the crime victim's lawful representative in the
manner described in paragraphs (1) and (3) of subsection (d).
(ii) Multiple victims. - In a case involving multiple
victims, subsection (d)(2) shall also apply.
(C) Limitation. - This paragraph relates to the duties of a
court in relation to the rights of a crime victim in Federal
habeas corpus proceedings arising out of a State conviction,
and does not give rise to any obligation or requirement
applicable to personnel of any agency of the Executive Branch
of the Federal Government.
(D) Definition. - For purposes of this paragraph, the term
"crime victim" means the person against whom the State offense
is committed or, if that person is killed or incapacitated,
that person's family member or other lawful representative.
(c) Best Efforts To Accord Rights. -
(1) Government. - Officers and employees of the Department of
Justice and other departments and agencies of the United States
engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime
shall make their best efforts to see that crime victims are
notified of, and accorded, the rights described in subsection
(2) Advice of attorney. - The prosecutor shall advise the crime
victim that the crime victim can seek the advice of an attorney
with respect to the rights described in subsection (a).
(3) Notice. - Notice of release otherwise required pursuant to
this chapter shall not be given if such notice may endanger the
safety of any person.
(d) Enforcement and Limitations. -
(1) Rights. - The crime victim or the crime victim's lawful
representative, and the attorney for the Government may assert
the rights described in subsection (a). A person accused of the
crime may not obtain any form of relief under this chapter.
(2) Multiple crime victims. - In a case where the court finds
that the number of crime victims makes it impracticable to accord
all of the crime victims the rights described in subsection (a),
the court shall fashion a reasonable procedure to give effect to
this chapter that does not unduly complicate or prolong the
(3) Motion for relief and writ of mandamus. - The rights
described in subsection (a) shall be asserted in the district
court in which a defendant is being prosecuted for the crime or,
if no prosecution is underway, in the district court in the
district in which the crime occurred. The district court shall
take up and decide any motion asserting a victim's right
forthwith. If the district court denies the relief sought, the
movant may petition the court of appeals for a writ of mandamus.
The court of appeals may issue the writ on the order of a single
judge pursuant to circuit rule or the Federal Rules of Appellate
Procedure. The court of appeals shall take up and decide such
application forthwith within 72 hours after the petition has been
filed. In no event shall proceedings be stayed or subject to a
continuance of more than five days for purposes of enforcing this
chapter. If the court of appeals denies the relief sought, the
reasons for the denial shall be clearly stated on the record in a
(4) Error. - In any appeal in a criminal case, the Government
may assert as error the district court's denial of any crime
victim's right in the proceeding to which the appeal relates.
(5) Limitation on relief. - In no case shall a failure to
afford a right under this chapter provide grounds for a new
trial. A victim may make a motion to re-open a plea or sentence
only if -
(A) the victim has asserted the right to be heard before or
during the proceeding at issue and such right was denied;
(B) the victim petitions the court of appeals for a writ of
mandamus within 14 days; and
(C) in the case of a plea, the accused has not pled to the
highest offense charged.
This paragraph does not affect the victim's right to restitution
as provided in title 18, United States Code.
(6) No cause of action. - Nothing in this chapter shall be
construed to authorize a cause of action for damages or to
create, to enlarge, or to imply any duty or obligation to any
victim or other person for the breach of which the United States
or any of its officers or employees could be held liable in
damages. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair the
prosecutorial discretion of the Attorney General or any officer
under his direction.
(e) Definitions. - For the purposes of this chapter, the term
"crime victim" means a person directly and proximately harmed as a
result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the
District of Columbia. In the case of a crime victim who is under 18
years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the legal
guardians of the crime victim or the representatives of the crime
victim's estate, family members, or any other persons appointed as
suitable by the court, may assume the crime victim's rights under
this chapter, but in no event shall the defendant be named as such
guardian or representative.
(f) Procedures To Promote Compliance. -
(1) Regulations. - Not later than 1 year after the date of
enactment of this chapter, the Attorney General of the United
States shall promulgate regulations to enforce the rights of
crime victims and to ensure compliance by responsible officials
with the obligations described in law respecting crime victims.
(2) Contents. - The regulations promulgated under paragraph (1)
(A) designate an administrative authority within the
Department of Justice to receive and investigate complaints
relating to the provision or violation of the rights of a crime
(B) require a course of training for employees and offices of
the Department of Justice that fail to comply with provisions
of Federal law pertaining to the treatment of crime victims,
and otherwise assist such employees and offices in responding
more effectively to the needs of crime victims;
(C) contain disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or
termination from employment, for employees of the Department of
Justice who willfully or wantonly fail to comply with
provisions of Federal law pertaining to the treatment of crime
(D) provide that the Attorney General, or the designee of the
Attorney General, shall be the final arbiter of the complaint,
and that there shall be no judicial review of the final
decision of the Attorney General by a complainant.