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House Judiciary Hearing a Success!June 25, 1997 - Attorney General Janet Reno repeated both her personal and President Clinton's strong support for a constitutional amendment protecting the rights of crime victims. "When confronted with the need to reconcile the constitutional rights of a defendant with the statutory rights of a victim, many courts often find it easiest simply to ignore the legitimate interests of the victim," Reno said.
Reno testified with other supporters at the June 25 hearing before the full House Judiciary Committee on House Joint Resolution 71, Rep. Henry Hyde's proposed victims' rights amendment, and H.R. 1322, legislation which would spell out specific provisions implementing the proposed amendment.
The Senate Judiciary Committe held hearing on Senate Joint Resolution 6 on April 16, 1997.
"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh supports constitutional rights for crime victims.
Oklahoma City Bombing Victims/Survivors' Impact TestimonyProf. Laurence Tribe: Victims' have right to testify
March - June 1997 - While upholding the constitutionality of the federal Victims Rights Act, Federal Judge Richard Matsch ruled that he would restrict victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing from providing any victim impact testimony he believes is influenced by testimony heard during the guilt phase of the Timothy McVeigh trial.
Because of the uncertainty of the Judge's rulings, victims were forced to choose between two of their statutory rights: to attend the trial or face the possibility of being denied the opportunity to express their feelings about the impact of the Oklahoma bombing. Congress had enacted two separate laws attempting to ensure that the victims would be able to both attend the trial and make victim impact statements. Nevertheless, Judge Matsch said he will prevent what he described as testimony that might "inflame or incite the passions of the jury."
The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a 4-hour public hearing on Senate Joint Resolution 6.April 16, 1997 - Testifying in support of the amendment were U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, Oklahoma City bombing victim survivor Marsha Kight, Rep. Deborah Pryce, Wisconsin Attorney General James Doyle, Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall, Pima County (AZ) prosecutor Barbara LaWall and University of Utah Law Professor Paul Cassell.
House Amendment IntroducedApril 15, 1997 - Rep. Henry Hyde, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduces House Joint Resolution 71, a Crime Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment, and H.R. 1322, legislation implementing the amendment in the federal criminal justice system.
NCJA Supports VRAFebruary, 1997 - At its Winter Board meeting, the National Criminal Justice Association approved a resolution supporting the victims' rights amendment.
Governors Support VRAFeb. 4, 1997 - Led by long-time victim advocate and Chair of the National Governors' Association Nevada Governor Bob Miller, the National Governor's Association voted 49-1 to support federal constitutional rights for crime victims.
ACA support VRA
January 1997 - The governing bodies of the American Correctional Association (ACA) unanimously voted to support a victims' rights constitutional amendment. ACA is the world's largest correctional organization.
SJR 6 Introduced
January 21, 1997 - Senate Joint Resolution 6 (SJR 6), a new version of the victims' bill of rights constitutional amendment (now simply known as either the victims' rights constitutional amendment or the victims' rights amendment) was introduced on the first day of legislative business in the Senate.
October 1996 - Congress adjourned without taking acton on any version of a victims' constitutional amendment. Read NOVA Newsletter summary.
SJR 65 Introduced
September 30, 1996 - A new version of the Victims' Bill of Rights Constitutional Amendment, SJR 65, was introduced by Senators Jon Kyl and Dianne Feinstein. This new version represents the culmination of months of discussion by members of the Justice Department, Congressional leaders, the White House, criminal justice agencies and crime victim advocates. Although the language differs from the original proposal, the core values of the amendment have been retained.
COPS Endorses Amendment
July 29, 1996 - The National Board of Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS) became the first national law enforcement oriented organization to formally endorse the amendment.
House Judiciary Committee HearingJuly 11, 1996 - House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde, conducts a full committee hearing on constitutional rights for crime victims.
President Clinton Endorses VRAJune 25, 1996 - President Bill Clinton announces his support of the proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution for crime victims' rights. He endorsed key concepts behind SJR 52/HJR 174 at a press conference and pledged to work closely with Congressional leaders on a bi-partisan basis to secure an amendment's passage.
NCASA Supports Victims' Rights
June 1996 - National Coaliation Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) endorse SJR52/HR174.
Sen. Dole Support Amendment
May 1996 - Senator Robert Dole, Republican candidate for President, states support for constitutional rights for crime victims; co-sponsors SJR 52 (June 5, 1996).
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
April 23, 1996 - Full Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on the proposed victims' right constitutional amendment.
April 22, 1996 - History in the victims' rights movement was made with the introduction of the Victims' Bill of Rights Constitutional Amendment, SJR 52/HJR 174, at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol. The amendment was introduced by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Also, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Larry Craig (R-ID) signed on as original co-sponsors.
National organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Victim Center, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Parents of Murdered Children, the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization, and the National Victims Constitutional Amendment Network endorsed SJR 52/HJR 174.