In the state of California, victims have a number of rights throughout the criminal justice process. These rights have been included in the California Constitution through the Victims' Bill of Rights Acts of 1982 and 2008. This Victims' Bill of Rights, otherwise known as Marsy's Law, has given victims more consideration and opportunity to be involved in the pre-trial, trial and post-conviction processes related to the offense and the offender.
A victim, the legal representative of the victim, a retained attorney, or a prosecuting attorney upon request, may enforce the rights enumerated in the California Constitution Article I Section 28(b). These rights are enforceable in any trial or appellate court with jurisdiction over the case.
Some of the Marsy's Law rights are self-executing, and some of the rights require that the victim notify the court that they are asserting them.
Self-Executing Rights that attach to every victim regardless of a specific request:
Rights that must or should be affirmatively asserted:
In the tabs to the right, we have provided further explanation about some of these rights of victims, as well as valuable resources that a victim can look to in helping them understand these rights and general information about what the process for asserting them may entail.
However, this information and the resources should be used primarily for informational purposes. For many of these rights, it is a good idea to receive the help of an attorney or experienced victims advocate when trying to assert them. Many require that a victim exercise these rights by first filing a form, or various forms, with the courts or other agencies in the state. If you would like more information about how to come in contact with either an attorney who specializes in victims' right or a victims advocate, please call our hotline number at 1-800-VICTIMS(842-8467).
The California Court Legal Self-Help website also has more information about how a victim or the loved one of a victim may assert this right.
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Tips for Using Technology: It is not possible to delete all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be unsafe to change your computer behaviors, like suddenly deleting your Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for activities, like looking up the weather or reading the news. Use a safer computer, such as a public computer at your local library, to research escape plans, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
Email and Instant/Text Messaging are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.