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Law Office of Michael J. Kennedy

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The Tyranny and Fraud of National Crime Victims Week

“Every year in April, OVC helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW), which will be observed in 2016 on April 10–16. This year's theme—Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.—underscores the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims, which in turn begins to restore their hope for healing and recovery.” “OVC” = The Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

That is roughly related to values supposedly promoted by California “Victims' Bill of Rights.” That piece of beneficent propaganda is enshrined in Section 28 of the state Constitution:

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SEC. 28. (a) The People of the State of California find and declare

all of the following:

   (1) Criminal activity has a serious impact on the citizens of

California. The rights of victims of crime and their families in

criminal prosecutions are a subject of grave statewide concern.

   (2) Victims of crime are entitled to have the criminal justice

system view criminal acts as serious threats to the safety and

welfare of the people of California. The enactment of comprehensive

provisions and laws ensuring a bill of rights for victims of crime,

including safeguards in the criminal justice system fully protecting

Those rights and ensuring that crime victims are treated with respect

and dignity, is a matter of high public importance. California's

victims of crime are largely dependent upon the proper functioning of

government, upon the criminal justice system and upon the

expeditious enforcement of the rights of victims of crime described

herein, in order to protect the public safety and to secure justice

when the public safety has been compromised by criminal activity.

   (3) The rights of victims pervade the criminal justice system.

These rights include personally held and enforceable rights described

in paragraphs (1) through (17) of subdivision (b).

   (4) The rights of victims also include broader shared collective

rights that are held in common with all of the People of the State of

California and that are enforceable through the enactment of laws

and through good-faith efforts and actions of California's elected,

appointed, and publicly employed officials. These rights encompass

the expectation shared with all of the people of California that

persons who commit felonious acts causing injury to innocent victims

will be appropriately and thoroughly investigated, appropriately

detained in custody, brought before the courts of California even if

arrested outside the State, tried by the courts in a timely manner,

sentenced, and sufficiently punished so that the public safety is

protected and encouraged as a goal of highest importance.

   (5) Victims of crime have a collectively shared right to expect

that persons convicted of committing criminal acts are sufficiently

punished in both the manner and the length of the sentences imposed

by the courts of the State of California. This right includes the

right to expect that the punitive and deterrent effect of custodial

sentences imposed by the courts will not be undercut or diminished by

the granting of rights and privileges to prisoners that are not

required by any provision of the United States Constitution or by the

laws of this State to be granted to any person incarcerated in a

penal or other custodial facility in this State as a punishment or

correction for the commission of a crime.

   (6) Victims of crime are entitled to finality in their criminal

cases. Lengthy appeals and other post-judgment proceedings that

challenge criminal convictions, frequent and difficult parole

hearings that threaten to release criminal offenders, and the ongoing

threat that the sentences of criminal wrongdoers will be reduced,

prolong the suffering of crime victims for many years after the

crimes themselves have been perpetrated. This prolonged suffering of

crime victims and their families must come to an end.

   (7) Finally, the People find and declare that the right to public

safety extends to public and private primary, elementary, junior

high, and senior high school, and community college, California State

University, University of California, and private college and

university campuses, where students and staff have the right to be

safe and secure in their persons.

   (8) To accomplish the goals it is necessary that the laws of

California relating to the criminal justice process be amended in

order to protect the legitimate rights of victims of crime.

   (b) In order to preserve and protect a victim's rights to justice

and due process, a victim shall be entitled to the following rights:

   (1) To be treated with fairness and respect for his or her privacy

and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and

abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.

   (2) To be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons

acting on behalf of the defendant.

   (3) To have the safety of the victim and the victim's family

considered in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for

the defendant.

   (4) To prevent the disclosure of confidential information or

records to the defendant, the defendant's attorney, or any other

person acting on behalf of the defendant, which could be used to

locate or harass the victim or the victim's family or which disclose

confidential communications made in the course of medical or

counseling treatment, or which are otherwise privileged or

confidential by law.

(5) To refuse an interview, deposition, or discovery request by

the defendant, the defendant's attorney, or any other person acting

on behalf of the defendant, and to set reasonable conditions on the

conduct of any such interview to which the victim consents.

   (6) To reasonable notice of and to reasonably confer with the

prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding, the arrest of the

defendant if known by the prosecutor, the charges filed, the

determination whether to extradite the defendant, and, upon request,

to be notified of and informed before any pretrial disposition of the

case.

   (7) To reasonable notice of all public proceedings, including

delinquency proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the

prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other

post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such

proceedings.

   (8) To be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including any

delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision,

plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding

in which a right of the victim is at issue.

   (9) To a speedy trial and a prompt and final conclusion of the

case and any related post-judgment proceedings.

   (10) To provide information to a probation department official

conducting a pre-sentence investigation concerning the impact of the

offense on the victim and the victim's family and any sentencing

recommendations before the sentencing of the defendant.

   (11) To receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when

available to the defendant, except for those portions made

confidential by law.

   (12) To be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence,

place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the

defendant, the scheduled release date of the defendant, and the

release of or the escape by the defendant from custody.

   (13) To restitution.

   (A) It is the unequivocal intention of the People of the State of

California that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal

activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from

the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer.

   (B) Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in

every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in

which a crime victim suffers a loss.

   (C) All monetary payments, monies, and property collected from any

person who has been ordered to make restitution shall be first

applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim.

   (14) To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as

evidence.

   (15) To be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in

the parole process, to provide information to the parole authority to

be considered before the parole of the offender, and to be notified,

upon request, of the parole or other release of the offender.

   (16) To have the safety of the victim, the victim's family, and

the general public considered before any parole or other

post-judgment release decision is made.

   (17) To be informed of the rights enumerated in paragraphs (1)

through (16).

   (c) (1) A victim, the retained attorney of a victim, a lawful

representative of the victim, or the prosecuting attorney upon

request of the victim, may enforce the rights enumerated in

subdivision (b) in any trial or appellate court with jurisdiction

over the case as a matter of right. The court shall act promptly on

such a request.

   (2) This section does not create any cause of action for

compensation or damages against the State, any political subdivision

of the State, any officer, employee, or agent of the State or of any

of its political subdivisions, or any officer or employee of the

court.

   (d) The granting of these rights to victims shall not be construed

to deny or disparage other rights possessed by victims. The court in

its discretion may extend the right to be heard at sentencing to any

person harmed by the defendant. The parole authority shall extend

the right to be heard at a parole hearing to any person harmed by the

offender.

   (e) As used in this section, a "victim" is a person who suffers

direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a

result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or

delinquent act. The term "victim" also includes the person's spouse,

parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful

representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or

physically or psychologically incapacitated. The term "victim" does

not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a

person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a

minor victim.

   (f) In addition to the enumerated rights provided in subdivision

(b) that are personally enforceable by victims as provided in

subdivision (c), victims of crime have additional rights that are

shared with all of the People of the State of California. These

collectively held rights include, but are not limited to, the

following:

   (1) Right to Safe Schools. All students and staff of public

primary, elementary, junior high, and senior high schools, and

community colleges, colleges, and universities have the inalienable

right to attend campuses which are safe, secure and peaceful.

(2) Right to Truth-in-Evidence. Except as provided by statute

hereafter enacted by a two-thirds vote of the membership in each

house of the Legislature, relevant evidence shall not be excluded in

any criminal proceeding, including pretrial and post conviction

motions and hearings, or in any trial or hearing of a juvenile for a

criminal offense, whether heard in juvenile or adult court. Nothing

in this section shall affect any existing statutory rule of evidence

relating to privilege or hearsay, or Evidence Code Sections 352, 782

or 1103. Nothing in this section shall affect any existing statutory

or constitutional right of the press.

   (3) Public Safety Bail. A person may be released on bail by

sufficient sureties, except for capital crimes when the facts are

evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail may not be required.

In setting, reducing or denying bail, the judge or magistrate shall

take into consideration the protection of the public, the safety of

the victim, the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous

criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of his or her

appearing at the trial or hearing of the case. Public safety and the

safety of the victim shall be the primary considerations.

   A person may be released on his or her own recognizance in the

court's discretion, subject to the same factors considered in setting

bail.

   Before any person arrested for a serious felony may be released on

bail, a hearing may be held before the magistrate or judge, and the

prosecuting attorney and the victim shall be given notice and

reasonable opportunity to be heard on the matter.

   When a judge or magistrate grants or denies bail or release on a

person's own recognizance, the reasons for that decision shall be

stated in the record and included in the court's minutes.

   (4) Use of Prior Convictions. Any prior felony conviction of any

person in any criminal proceeding, whether adult or juvenile, shall

subsequently be used without limitation for purposes of impeachment

or enhancement of sentence in any criminal proceeding. When a prior

felony conviction is an element of any felony offense, it shall be

proven to the trier of fact in open court.

   (5) Truth in Sentencing. Sentences that are individually imposed

upon convicted criminal wrongdoers based upon the facts and

circumstances surrounding their cases shall be carried out in

compliance with the courts' sentencing orders, and shall not be

substantially diminished by early release policies intended to

alleviate overcrowding in custodial facilities. The legislative

branch shall ensure sufficient funding to adequately house inmates

for the full terms of their sentences, except for statutorily

authorized credits which reduce those sentences.

   (6) Reform of the parole process. The current process for parole

hearings is excessive, especially in cases in which the defendant has

been convicted of murder. The parole hearing process must be

reformed for the benefit of crime victims.

   (g) As used in this article, the term "serious felony" is any

crime defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 of the Penal Code,

or any successor statute.

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But what if you do not want to be treated as a “victim”; what if receiving the “help” from self-serving political do-gooders on the national and state scene does not serve your interests? What if, in your own balance of benefits and risks and costs, you want the government to leave you alone and to allow you to restore your relationship with the person who is ostensibly your victimizer? Then the same benevolent, authoritarian government will brand you stupid, irresponsible, obviously too weak to handle your own affairs, and they will then threaten to seek a warrant for your arrest if you do not show up in court to help them with their agenda about your victimization. You will become a victim of government more perniciously than you were the “victim” of the person government wants to jail.

You see, government cares not a whit about you – it cares about its agenda, and you are a pawn in its self-serving chess game; you must get in line or you will be bowled over. You will be demonized as harshly as they assail the ostensible victimizer if you do not cooperate with their scheme.

The Framers knew that government is inherently evil, sometimes necessarily so, sometimes intolerably so, but evil nonetheless, because its existence axiomatically undermines the growth of individual liberty, which should be the summum bonum of civilized existence. And there is no more clear exemplar of its intolerable evil than the patronizing and then victimizing regime of professional victimization protections promoted, propagandized and celebrated on the national and stage scene.

When a loving Dad does not want his boy to go to prison for hitting him, the government knows better and will threaten to jail the Dad if (1) he doesn't show up in court, or (b) changes his story from that he initially told. If a wife or girlfriend realizes, in balancing the good against the bad and deciding where the calculus benefits her and her kids best, does not was the person who hit her to be punished with jail or retrained from visiting her or their kids, the government knows better, so if she does not get on board their salvation train, they will threaten her, and will threaten to take away the kids. Government knows best and all will heel like a puppy on a leash, or they will be kicked and bruised by the savior government.

The thoughtless authoritarianism associated with our victimization lobby and the “we know better than you” government thugs is terrorism far worse than some of that by turbaned mullahs in distant lands.

Crime victim's rights? Those rights should include the right to be left alone by government and protected from government's intrusion into the family unit. If one has a right to something, he has a right to its opposite. A right to appointment of counsel includes a right to not have counsel; a right to free speech includes a right not to speak; a right to read the Bible includes the right to never have to look at a Bible; a right to pray includes a right not to pray; a right to have a trial before liberty is stolen includes the right to not have a trial and to just give up the fight; a right to be assisted as a victim must necessarily include a right to not be given victims' services and to be left alone. But you see, government is not really faithful to the meaning of rights when there is a heavy moneyed agenda such as the art form of victimization protection at stake.

There is much tyranny and fraud in the victims' rights game; be not deceived, and don't show up at these victimization rallies, or else you enable government evil by appearing to understand and support it.

Michael Kennedy

Admitted to Bar, State of California, 1981 Education: Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1970) Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California (J.D., Scale, 1981) Harvard Law School, Program of Instruction for Lawyers, Cambridge, 1987

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