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Administrative Rules of the Unified Court System & Uniform Rules of the Trial Courts


Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge


PART 129. FAIR TREATMENT STANDARDS FOR CRIME VICTIMS
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129.1 Purpose
129.2 Definitions
129.3 Standards
129.4 Education and training
129.5 Liability

Section 129.1 Purpose.

The purpose of these standards is to provide objective guidelines for the fair and uniform treatment of crime victims by the Unified Court System in order to encourage increased public cooperation and support of the criminal justice process, improve the overall effectiveness of the criminal justice system as it concerns crime victims and the public in general and help ensure that courts in the Unified Court System treat crime victims and witnesses with dignity and appropriate understanding.

Historical Note
Sec. filed June 17, 1987 eff. May 14, 1987.

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Section 129.2 Definitions.

(a) "Criminal justice agency" includes any agency or department of the State or any political subdivision thereof that performs a criminal justice function as defined in 9 NYCRR 6170.2(c) and a presentment agency as defined in subdivision twelve of section 301.2 of the Family Court Act.

(b) "Criminal justice process" shall mean the process by which a crime charged in an accusatory instrument or in a Family Court petition is processed by the Unified Court System from the initial appearance of the accused to disposition.

(c) "Crime victim" shall mean a natural person against whom an act defined as a misdemeanor or felony by the Penal Law or section 1192 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law has been committed or attempted, where such act is charged in an accusatory instrument as defined in section 1.20(1) of the Criminal Procedure Law or is alleged in a petition filed in Family Court. Crime victim shall include the immediate family of a homicide victim or the immediate family or guardian of a minor who is a crime victim. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, a victim shall not include a defense witness or an individual reasonably believed to have been involved in the commission of the crime.

(d) "Witness" shall mean a natural person who has evidence or information concerning a crime and who provides such evidence or information to a criminal justice agency. Where the witness is a minor, witness shall include an immediate family member or guardian. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, a witness shall not include a defense witness or an individual reasonably believed to have been involved in the commission of the crime.

(e) "Court" shall mean any court in the Unified Court System that has contact with a crime victim or witness.

Historical Note
Sec. filed June 17, 1987 eff. May 14, 1987.

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Section 129.3 Standards.

(a) When a court has contact with a crime victim or witness, the court shall take steps to ensure:

(1) that the victim had been provided with information concerning:

(i) the victim's role in the criminal justice process, including what the victim can expect from the system as well as what the system expects from the victim;

(ii) the stages of the criminal justice process of significance to the victim and the manner in which information about such stages can be obtained; and

(iii) how the court can address the needs of the victim at sentencing or disposition.

(2) that the victim or witness has been notified as to steps the court can take to protect him or her from intimidation, including the issuance of orders of protection and temporary orders of protection.

(3) that a victim or witness who has provided the appropriate court official or criminal justice agency with a current address and telephone number has been notified, if possible, of judicial proceedings relating to his or her case, including:

(i) the initial appearance of an accused before a judicial officer;

(ii) the release of an accused pending further judicial proceedings;

(iii) proceedings in the prosecution of the accused, including entry of a plea of guilty, trial, sentencing or disposition, and, where a term of imprisonment or confinement is imposed, specific information regarding maximum and minimum terms of such imprisonment or confinement; and

(iv) the reversal or modification of the judgment by an appellate court.

(b) The court shall consider the views of victims of the following felonies regarding disposition of the case by dismissal, plea agreement, trial or sentence:

(1) a violent felony offense;

(2) a felony involving physical injury to the victim;

(3) a felony involving property loss or damage in excess of $250;

(4) a felony involving attempted or threatened physical injury or property loss or damage in excess of $250; and

(5) a felony involving larceny against the person.

(c) The court shall consider the views of the victim or family of the victim, as appropriate, concerning the release of the defendant in the victim's case pending judicial proceedings upon an indictment or petition, and concerning the availability of sentencing or dispositional alternatives such as community supervision and restitution from the defendant.

(d) The court shall take steps to ensure that, whenever possible, victims and other prosecution witnesses awaiting court appearances have been provided with a secure waiting area separate from all other witnesses.

(e) The court shall assist in and expedite the return of property held for evidentiary purposes, unless there is a compelling law enforcement reason for retaining it relating to proof at trial.

(f) Any judicial or nonjudicial personnel of the Unified Court System having contact with a crime victim or witness, whether for the prosecution or the defense, shall treat such crime victim or witness with dignity, courtesy and respect.

(g) The court may direct the district attorney or a criminal justice agency to take such steps as may be necessary and appropriate to ensure compliance with these standards.

Historical Note
Sec. filed June 17, 1987 eff. May 14, 1987.

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Section 129.4 Education and training.

Victim assistance education and training shall be given to judicial and nonjudicial personnel of the Unified Court System so that victims may be promptly, properly and completely assisted.

Historical Note
Sec. filed June 17, 1987 eff. May 14, 1987.

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Section 129.5 Liability.

Nothing in this Part shall be construed as creating a cause of action for damages or injunctive relief against the State or any of its political subdivisions or officers or any agency thereof.

Historical Note
Sec. filed June 17, 1987 eff. May 14, 1987.