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President Bush Endorses Feinstein-Kyl Victims Rights AmendmentApril 2002 - At a National Crime Victims Rights Week ceremony, President George Bush opn April 16, 2002 announced his support for the amendment for the adoption of the Feinstein-Kyl Victims Rights Amendment. According to the President, "Victims of violent crime have important rights that deserve protection in our Constitution. And so today, I announce my support for the bipartisan Crime Victims' Rights amendment to the Constitution of the United States. . . . The Feinstein-Kyl Amendment was written with care, and strikes a proper balance. Our legal system properly protects the rights of the accused in the Constitution. But it does not provide similar protection for the rights of victims, and that must change. . . . The protection of victims' rights is one of those rare instances when amending the Constitution is the right thing to do. And the Feinstein-Kyl Crime Victims' Rights Amendment is the right way to do it."
- Text of S.J. Res. 35 - Crime Victims' Rights Amendment [PDF]
- Introductory Statements by Sens. Feinstein and Kyl
- Letter of support by Prof. Laurence Tribe [HTML][Word][PDF]
Revised Victims Rights Amendment introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl
On April 15, 2002, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced a revised version of an amendment to recognize in the U.S. Constitution the rights of victims of violent crime. The newly worded amendment strikes a balance between the rights of those accused of crime and those who are victimized by crime. Harvard University Law Professor Laurence Tribe and NVCAN General Counsel Steve Twist participated in the drafting of the new version.
Message from NVCAN Co-ChairpersonsNovember 2001 - The Board of Directors and members of NVCAN passionately believe in providing rights and services to all victims of crime. As a matter of principle and right, NVCAN continues to seek and support the broadest possible language for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We remain committed to reaching consensus between our sponsors, the Administration and fellow advocates to achieve this goal.
(Bob Preston and Roberta Roper, Co-Chairpersons)
Status ReportOctober 2001 - Senators Kyl and Feinstein have continued to direct discussions with the Bush Administration in an attempt to reach consensus on a final introduction draft for the Crime Victims Rights Amendment. The adminstration team has been led by Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh. NVCAN has been included throughout the discussions. The talks have been very productive. While the September 11th attacks have required attention to be re-focused for the time being, we fully expect that consensus will be reached in the very near future.
Senators Jon Kyl and Dianne Feinstein Withdraw S.J. Res.April 27, 2000 - NOVA article explains why sponsors deferred further action on VRA.
Senate Begins Consideration of S. J. Resolution 3April 25, 2000 - The United States Senate is scheduled to begin taking action on Senate Joint Resolution 3, the Kyl-Feinstein Victims' Rights Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The first step will be a motion on cloture, a procedural step to limit the time spent on debate.
Attorneys General Strongly support S. J. Res. 3
April 21, 2000 - Thirty-nine Attorneys General have publicly endorsed the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution 3 providing permanent recognition of victims rights in the U.S. Constitution.
In a letter addressed to S.J. Res. 3 sponsors Senators Kyl and Feinstein and sent to all U.S. Senators, these top law enforcement officials noted that despite the best intentions of our laws, crime victims are still denied basic rights to fair treatment and due process. They stated, "We are convinced that statutory protections are not enough; only a federal constitutional amendment will be sufficient to change the culture of our legal system."
Gov. Bush Supports VRA
April 7, 2000 - In a statement issued April 7, 2000, Texas Governor George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, stated,
"I strongly support passage of the Victims' Rights Amendment. Two years ago, I joined my colleagues on the National Governor's Association in calling for a national Amendment, like the one we have in Texas and 30 other states. For too long, courts and lawyers have focused only on the rights of criminal defendants and not on the rights of innocent victims. We need to make sure that crime victims are not forgotten, that they are treated fairly and with respect in our criminal process."
House Judiciary HearingFebruary 10, 2000 - House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee holds public hearing on H.J. Res. 64
The House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution held its public hearing on House Joint Resolution 64, introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot [PDF] as the House version of the Victims' Rights Amendment. NVCAN Executive Board Member Steve Twist [PDF], NOVA Executive Director Marlene Young [PDF] and other VRA supporters testified on behalf of victims' constitutional rights.
Senate Judiciary Committee Supports S.J. Res. 3
September 30, 1999 - The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 - 5 to recommend enactment of Senate Joint Resolution 3 which would create a Victims' Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
House VRA Introduced
August 4, 1999 - Ohio Representative Steven Chabot introduced a House version of a victims' rights constitutional amendment. House Joint Resolution 64 contains provision similar to S. J. Res. 3 now under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. One important distinction is that H. J. Res. 64 would cover victims of all felony crimes and "any other crime that involves violence."
Gore supports VRA
July 12, 1999 - Vice-President Al Gore announced his support to amend the U.S. Constitution to recognize crime victims' rights. In a speech to law enforcement officers, Gore stated, " ... I will never be satisfied so long as one victim is forgotten. Too often, we bend over backward to protect the right of criminals, but pay no attention to those who are hurt the most. Victims should have a voice in trial and other proceedings. Their safety should be a factor in the sentencing and release of their attackers. They should be notified when an offender is released back into their community. And they should have a right to compensation from their attacker. That is why I will lead the fight to pass a Victims' Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution - so our justice system puts victims and their families first again."
Senate Subcomittee Supports S. J. Res. 3May 26, 1999 - the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property approved S.J.R. 3 for consideration by the full Committee. The subcommittee endorsed an amendment by Sen. John Ashcroft to extend victims' rights to notice and input in commutations and pardons.
Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Public Hearing on S. J. Res. 3March 24, 1999 - Victims and victim advocates expressed strong support for Senate Joint Resolution 3, a federal victims' rights amendment introduced by Sens. Jon Kyl and Dianne Feinstein.
Senators Re-introduce VRA in 106th CongressJanuary 19, 1999 - Senators Jon Kyl and Dianne Feinstein submitted Senate Join Resolution 3 for consideration during the 106th Congress. S.J.Res. 3 is based upon the version of a federal victims' rights amendment recommended for adoption during the previous congressional session by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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