Colorado Victims' Rights Act

HB 12-1053 Legislation

DEFINITIONS SECTION (C.R.S. 24-4.1-302)

New Crimes 24-4.1-302 (1)

(ii) Trafficking in Adults, in violation of section 18-3-501, C.R.S.; or Trafficking in Children, in violation of Section 18-3-502, C.R.S.

(jj) First degree burglary, in violation of section 18-4-202, C.R.S.

(kk) Retaliation against a judge, in violation of section 18-8-615, C.R.S.; or retaliation against a juror, in violation of section 18-8-706.5, C.R.S.

New Critical Stage 24-4.1-302(2)

(u) The decision, whether by the court order, stipulation of the parties, or otherwise, to conduct post conviction DNA testing to establish the actual innocence of the person convicted of a crime against the victim; the results of any such post conviction DNA testing; and court proceedings initiated based on the result of the post conviction DNA testing.  An inmate’s written or oral request for such testing is not a “critical stage”.

New Definition

(3.5)  “Modification of Sentence” means an action taken by the court to modify the length, terms, or conditions of an offender’s sentence pursuant to Rule 35 (a) or (b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure.  Action taken by the court includes an order by the court modifying an offender’s sentence upon review of the written motion without a hearing, but does not include an order denying a motion to modify a sentence without a hearing.

Addition to an existing definition

(5) “Victim” means any natural person against whom any crime has been perpetrated or attempted, unless the person is accountable for the crime or a crime arising from the same conduct, criminal episode, or plan as crime is defined under the laws of this state or of the United States, or, if such person is deceased or incapacitated, the person’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, significant other, or other lawful representative.

RIGHTS AFFORDED TO VICTIMS SECTION (C.R.S. 24-4.1-302.5)

Right to be informed, but not present

(b) The right to be informed of and present for all critical stages of the criminal justice process as specified in section 24-4.1-302 (2); except that the victim shall have the right to be informed of, without being present for, the critical stages described in section 24-4.1-302 (2)(a), (2)(a.5), (2)(e.5), (2)(k.3), (2)(n), (2)(p), (2)(q), and (2)(u).

Addition to release or discharge from the jail

(c) (II) With respect to the release, discharge, or permanent transfer of a person from a county jail or correctional facility, the provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c) shall apply when the person released, discharged, or permanently transferred is no longer within the care and control of the supervising law enforcement or correctional agency.  The provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c) shall not apply to the temporary transfer of the care and control of a person from a county jail or a correctional facility by the supervising law enforcement or correctional agency to another equally or more secure county jail or correctional facility, so long as the person will return to the care and control of the transferring supervisory agency.

Current Right to be heard

(d) The right to be heard at any court proceeding:

(VI) At which the defendant requests a modification of the no contact provision of the mandatory criminal protection order under section 18-1-1001, C.R.S. or section 19-2-707, C.R.S.

New Right to be heard

(d) The right to be heard at any court proceeding:

(VII) Involving a subpoena for records concerning the victim’s medical history, mental health, education, or victim compensation or any other records that are privileged pursuant to section 13-90-107, C.R.S.

New Right to be heard when unavailable

(d.5) (I) If a victim or a victim’s designee is unavailable to be present for the critical stages described in paragraph (d) of this subsection (I) and the victim or the victim’s designee wishes to address the court, the right to request that the court, within the court’s resources, arrange and provide the means for the victim and the victim’s designee to provide input to the court beyond a written victim impact statement.

(II) For purposes of this paragraph (d.5), “unavailable” means that the victim or the victim’s designee is physically unable to attend the court hearing, may sustain a financial hardship to attend the court hearing, is concerned for his or her safety if he or she attends the court hearing, may suffer significant emotional impact by attending the hearing, or is unavailable for other good cause.

(III) The victim or the victim’s designee shall notify the district attorney within a reasonable time that he or she is unavailable to attend the court hearing.  The district attorney’s office shall then inform the court that the victim or the victim’s designee, due to his or her unavailability, is requesting the court to arrange for and provide the means to address the court, which may include but need not be limited to appearing by phone or similar technology.  The district attorney shall inform the victim or the victim’s designee of the court’s decision regarding an alternate arrangement.

(IV) This paragraph (d.5) applies to a victim who is incarcerated or otherwise being held in a local county jail or the department of corrections, but is limited to participation by telephone.

Clarification regarding direct sentence to community correction and right to be heard

(j.5)(I) The right to provide a written impact statement that will be included with any referral made by the department of corrections or a district court to place an offender in a community corrections facility or program.  A community corrections board may allow a victim to provide an oral statement to the community corrections board when an offender is being considered for a direct sentence to community corrections and may place reasonable limits on the victim’s oral statement.

Addition to the right to be informed about steps to take when a victim feels threatened

(m) The right to be informed about what steps can be taken by a victim or a witness, including information regarding protection services, in case there is any intimidation or harassment by a person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim, or any other person acting on behalf of the accused or convicted.

Additional New rights

(w) The right to have the district attorney, a law enforcement agency, a probation department, a state or private correctional facility, the department of human services, or the Colorado mental health institute at Pueblo make all reasonable efforts to exclude or redact a victim’s social security number or a witness’ social security number from a criminal justice document or record created or compiled as a result of a criminal investigation when the document or record is released to anyone other than the victim, the defense attorney of record, the defense attorney’s agent, or a criminal justice agency that has duties under this article.

(x) The right to be notified of how to request protection of their address pursuant to the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(y) The right to receive a copy of the victim impact statement form from the district attorney’s office.

(1.6) The right to be informed of the existence of a criminal protection order under section 18-1-1001, C.R.S. or section 19-2-707, C.R.S., and, upon request of the victim, information about provisions that may be added or modified, and the process for requesting such an addition or modification.

(4) If a victim contacts a criminal justice agency regarding a crime that occurred before 1993, and the offender who committed the crime is currently serving a sentence for the crime, the victim may request notification of any future critical stages of the criminal proceedings.  In addition, if an arrest is made for a crime committed before 1993 that was previously unsolved, the victim of the crime may request notification of all future critical stages from the appropriate criminal justice agency.  This provision does not require a criminal justice agency to proactively locate victims of crimes that occurred before 1993.

PROCEDURES FOR ENSURING RIGHTS AFFORDED TO VICTIMS (C.R.S. 24-4.1-303)

New procedures

 (9) The district attorney and any law enforcement agency shall inform each victim as to the availability of the following services:

(h) The existence of a criminal protection order under section 18-1-1001, C.R.S., or section 19-2-707, C.R.S., and, upon request of the victim, information about provisions that may be added or modified and the process for requesting such an addition or modification.

(10)(a) After initial contact between the victim and a law enforcement agency responsible for investigating a crime, the agency shall promptly give the victim the following information in writing:

(V) The right of a victim to request a copy of the law enforcement report and other documents related to the case, including the right to receive a free copy of the initial incident report.  The release of any such documents associated with the investigation is at the discretion of the law enforcement agency based on the status of the case.

(11) The district attorney shall inform a victim of the following:

(h) The right to complete a written victim impact statement.  The victim has the option to complete the statement on a form provided by the district attorney’s office.  The district attorney shall inform the victim that the defendant has the right to view the impact statement.

(i) The availability of the district attorney to seek a court order to protect a victim’s residential address.

(12) Unless a victim requests otherwise, the district attorney shall inform each victim of the following:

(e) Any sentence imposed

(f) (I) The date, time, and location of any hearing for modification of a sentence pursuant to Rule 35 (a) or Rule 35 (b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure or any provision of state or federal law.

(II) If a hearing is not scheduled and the court has reviewed a written motion for modification of sentence and is considering granting any part of the motion without a hearing, the court shall inform the district attorney, and the district attorney shall notify and receive input from the victim to give to the court before the court rules on the motion.

 (III) If the court has reviewed and denied the written motion without a hearing, the district attorney is not required to notify the victim regarding the filing of or ruling on the motion.

 (IV)  This paragraph (f) does not modify the probation department’s responsibility to notify a victim that has opted to receive notifications described in subsection (13.5) of this section.

(h) The right to receive information from the probation department concerning information outlined in Subsection (13.5) of this section regarding a person convicted of a crime against the victim; and

(i) The decision, whether by court order, stipulation of the parties, or otherwise, to conduct postconviction DNA testing to establish the actual innocence of the person convicted of a crime against the victim.  If court proceedings are initiated based on the results of the postconviction DNA testing, the victim shall be notified of the court proceedings by the district attorney’s office that filed and prosecuted the charges resulting in the entry of judgment of conviction challenged by the defendant.  If the Attorney General’s Office is the agency that decides to conduct postconviction DNA testing, the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for notifying the victim.

(13.5) (a) Following a sentence to probation and upon the written request of a victim, the probation department shall notify the victim of the following information regarding any person who was charged with or convicted of a crime against the victim:

(V) Any motion filed by the probation department requesting permission from the court to modify the terms and conditions of probation as described in section 18-1.3-204, C.R.S., if the motion has not been denied by the court without a hearing.

(V.5) Any change of venue, transfer of probation supervision from one jurisdiction to another, or interstate compact transfer of probation supervision.

(14) Upon receipt of a written victim impact statement as provided in section 24-4.1-302.5 (1)(j.5), the department of corrections shall include the statement with any referral made by the department of corrections or a district court to place an offender in a public or private community corrections facility or program.  Upon written request of a victim, the department of corrections or the public or private local corrections authorities shall notify the victim of the following information regarding any person who was charged with or convicted of a crime against the victim:

(h) The death of the person while custody or while under the jurisdiction of the state of Colorado concerning the crime; and

(i) The transition of the person from a residential facility to a nonresidential setting.

(14.5) (b) At a proceeding specified in section 24-4.1-302.5 (1) (d) (VII), involving a subpoena for records of a victim, the court shall ascertain whether the victim received notice from the district attorney’s office of the subpoena.  After considering all evidence relevant to the subpoena, the court shall deny a request for a victim’s records that are privileged pursuant to section 13-90-107, C.R.S., unless the court makes a finding supported by specific facts that a victim has expressly or impliedly waived the victim’s statutory privilege specified in section 13-90-107, C.R.S.

(15)(a) Unless specifically stated otherwise, the requirements of this section to provide information to the victim may be satisfied by either written, electronic, or oral communication with the victim or the victim’s designee.  The person responsible for providing the information shall do so in a timely manner and advise the victim or the victim’s designee of any significant changes in the information.  The victim or the victim’s designee shall keep appropriate criminal justice authorities informed of the name, address, electronic mail address, if available, and telephone number of the person to whom the information should be provided, and any changes of the name, address, electronic mail address, and telephone number.

(a.5) A victim who turns eighteen years of age has the right to request notification from a criminal justice agency and to become the primary point of contact.  The designee for the victim shall continue to receive notifications if the designee has requested notification; except that the notifying agency has the discretion to notify only the victim if the victim so requests or if the agency deems that extenuating and documentable circumstances justify discontinuing notification to the victim’s designee.  The right of a victim’s designee to address the court remains in effect even if the victim requests notification from a criminal justice agency.

(b) An agency that is required to notify a victim under this part 3 shall make reasonable attempts to contact the victim or the victim’s designee by mail, electronic communication, if the victim or the victim’s designee has provided an electronic mail address, and by telephone.  If the victim or the victim’s designee does not provide the agency with a  forwarding address, electronic mail address, and telephone number and the agency is unable to located the victim or the victim’s designee after reasonable attempts have been made to contact the victim or the victim’s designee, the agency shall be deemed to have met its obligation under this part 3 and shall not be required to notify the victim or the victim’s designee until the victim or the victim’s designee provides the agency with the current address, electronic mail address, if available, and telephone of the victim and the name of the victim’s current designee, if applicable.

(c) Any agency that is required to notify a victim under this part 3 may use an automated victim notification system.

(18)  The district attorney, a law enforcement agency, a probation department, a state or private correctional facility, the department of human services, or the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo shall make all reasonable efforts to exclude or redact a victim’s social security number or a witness’ social security number from any criminal justice document or record created or compiled as a result of a criminal investigation when the document or record is released to anyone other than the victim, a criminal justice agency that has duties under this article, or the attorney for the defendant.

VICTIM COMPENSATION C.R.S. 24-4.1-108

(1)  A person is entitled to an award of compensation under this part 1 if:

(f) The application for an award of compensation under this part 1 is filed with the board within one year of the date of injury to the victim or within such further extension of time as the board, for good cause shown, allows.  For purposes of this paragraph (f), “good cause” may include but is not limited to circumstances in which a crime has remained unsolved for more than one year.

C.R.S. § 24-4.1-302.5

(1) In order to preserve and protect a victim's rights to justice and due process, each victim of a crime shall have the following rights:

(a) The right to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process;

 

(b) The right to be informed of and present for all critical stages of the criminal justice process as specified in section 24-4.1-302(2); except that the victim shall have the right to be informed of, without being present for, the critical stages described in section 24-4.1-302(2) (a), (2)(a.5), (2)(e.5), (2)(k.3), (2)(n), (2)(p), and (2)(q);

 

(b.5) The right to be informed of and present for the critical stages described in section 24-4.1-302(2)(k) to (2)(q) and (2)(s), upon the written request of the victim; except that the victim shall have the right to be informed of the critical stage described in section 24-4.1-302(2)(l) without submitting a written request for notification;

 

(b.7) For a victim of a sex offense, the right to be informed of the filing of a petition by the perpetrator of the offense to terminate sex offender registration pursuant to section 16-22-113(2)(c), C.R.S.;

 

(c)    (I) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (c):

(A) The right to be informed, upon request by the victim, when a person who is accused or convicted of a crime against the victim is released or discharged from county jail;


(B) The right to be informed, upon written request by the victim, when a person who is accused or convicted of a crime against the victim is released or discharged from custody other than county jail, is paroled, escapes from a secure or nonsecure correctional facility or program, or absconds from probation or parole.

(II) With respect to the release or discharge of a person from a county jail or correctional facility, the provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c) shall apply when the person released or discharged is no longer within the care and control of the supervising law enforcement or correctional agency. The provisions of subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (c) shall not apply to the temporary transfer of the care and control of a person from a county jail or a correctional facility by the supervising law enforcement or correctional agency to another equally or more secure county jail or correctional facility, so long as the person will return to the care and control of the transferring supervisory agency.

(d) The right to be heard at any court proceeding:

(I) Involving the defendant's bond as specified in section 24-4.1-302(2)(c);

 

(II) At which the court accepts a plea of nolo contendere;

 

(III) At which the court accepts a negotiated plea agreement;

 

(IV) At which a person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim is sentenced;

 

(V) At which the sentence of a person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim is modified; or

 

(VI) At which the defendant requests a modification of the no contact provision of the mandatory criminal protection order under section 18-1-1001, C.R.S.;

(e) The right to consult with the prosecution after any crime against the victim has been charged, prior to any disposition of the case, or prior to any trial of the case, and the right to be informed of the final disposition of the case;


(f) The right to be informed by local law enforcement agencies, prior to the filing of charges with the court, or by the district attorney, after the filing of charges with the court, of the status of any case concerning a crime against the victim, and any scheduling changes or cancellations, if such changes or cancellations are known in advance;


(g) The right to be present at the sentencing hearing, including any hearing conducted pursuant to section 18-1.3-1201 or 18-1.4-102, C.R.S., for cases involving class 1 felonies, of any person convicted of a crime against such victim, and to inform the district attorney and the court, in writing, by a victim impact statement, and by an oral statement, of the harm that the victim has sustained as a result of the crime, with the determination of whether the victim makes written input or oral input, or both, to be made at the sole discretion of the victim;

(h) The right to have the court determine the amount, if any, of restitution to be paid to a victim pursuant to part 6 of article 1.3 of title 18, C.R.S., by any person convicted of a crime against such victim for the actual pecuniary damages that resulted from the commission of the crime;


(i) The right to be informed of the victim's right to pursue a civil judgment against any person convicted of a crime against the victim for any damages incurred by the victim as a result of the commission of the crime regardless of whether the court has ordered such person to make restitution to the victim;

(i.5) Deleted by Laws 2006, Ch. 165, § 4, eff. July 1, 2006.

(j) The right to be informed, upon written request from the victim, of any proceeding at which any postconviction release from confinement in a secure state correctional facility is being considered for any person convicted of a crime against the victim and the right to be heard at any such proceeding or to provide written information thereto. For purposes of this subsection (1), “proceeding” means reconsideration of sentence, a parole hearing, or commutation of sentence.


(j.3) The right to be notified of a referral of an offender to community corrections;


(j.5)    (I) The right to provide a written victim impact statement, an oral victim impact statement, or both, that will be included with any referral made by the department of corrections or a district court to place an offender in a community corrections facility or program.

          (II) For purposes of this paragraph (j.5), the victim shall have the right to provide a separate oral statement to the community corrections board considering a transitional referral, but the board shall have discretion to place reasonable parameters on the victim's oral statement. If a community corrections board denies the offender's referral to community corrections, the victim's right under this subparagraph (II) to provide an oral statement shall not take effect.

(j.7) The right, at the discretion of the district attorney, to view all or a portion of the presentence report of the probation department;

(k) The right to promptly receive any property that belongs to a victim and that is being held by a prosecutorial or law enforcement agency unless there are evidentiary reasons for the retention of such property;

(l) The right to be informed of the availability of financial assistance and community services for victims, the immediate families of victims, and witnesses, which assistance and community services shall include, but shall not be limited to, crisis intervention services, victim compensation funds, victim assistance resources, legal resources, mental health services, social services, medical resources, rehabilitative services, and financial assistance services, and the right to be informed about the application process for such services;

(m) The right to be informed about what steps can be taken by a victim or a witness in case there is any intimidation or harassment by a person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim, or any other person acting on behalf of the accused or convicted person;

 

(n) The right to be provided with appropriate employer intercession services to encourage the victim's employer to cooperate with the criminal justice system in order to minimize the loss of employment, pay, or other benefits resulting from a victim's court appearances or other required meetings with criminal justice officials;

 

(o) The right to be assured that in any criminal proceeding the court, the prosecutor, and other law enforcement officials will take appropriate action to achieve a swift and fair resolution of the proceedings;

 

(p) The right to be provided, whenever practicable, with a secure waiting area during court proceedings that does not require a victim or a witness to be seen or to be in close proximity to the person accused or convicted of a crime against the victim or such person's family or friends;

 

(q) The right to be informed, upon written request by the victim, when a person convicted of a crime against the victim is placed in or transferred to a less secure public or private correctional facility or program;

(r) The right to be informed, upon written request by the victim, when a person who is or was charged with or convicted of a crime against the victim escapes or is permanently or conditionally transferred or released from any public hospital, private hospital, or state hospital;

(s) The right to be informed of any rights which the victim has pursuant to the constitution of the United States or the state of Colorado;

 

(t) The right to be informed of the process for enforcing compliance with this article pursuant to section 24-4.1-303 (17);

 

(u) The right to be informed of the results of any HIV testing that is ordered and performed pursuant to section 18-3-415, C.R.S.; and

 

(v) The right to prevent any party at any court proceeding from compelling testimony regarding the current address, telephone number, place of employment, or other locating information of the victim unless the victim consents or the court orders disclosure upon a finding that a reasonable and articulable need for the information exists. Any proceeding conducted by the court concerning whether to order disclosure shall be in camera.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section shall not be construed to imply that any victim who is incarcerated by the department of corrections or any local law enforcement agency has a right to be released to attend any hearing or that the department of corrections or the local law enforcement agency has any duty to transport such incarcerated victim to any hearing.

 

(3) Municipalities and municipal courts shall be encouraged to adopt policies which afford the rights granted to crime victims pursuant to this section to crime victims at the municipal court level, to the extent the adoption of such policies is practicable in the particular municipality.

If you feel your rights have been violated you can file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Criminal Justice, Office for Victims Program, http://dcj.state.co.us/ovp/.  The Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center may be able to assist you in this process.

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