Business Wire: "National Crime Victim Law Institute To Convene 10th Annual Conference On Victims’ Legal Rights"

Meeting Comes As Support Grows for Victims’ Rights in the Justice System

NCVLI’s Crime Victim Law Conference, now in its 10th year, is the only national conference dedicated to rights enforcement in criminal cases, which is a critical but often overlooked component of holistic victim services.

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) on June 14 will bring together legal experts, prosecutors and advocates to mark the 10th anniversary of the first national conference dedicated to crime victim issues. The meeting comes as support for victims’ rights in the justice system is gaining momentum nationwide.

The theme of the two-day conference on the campus of the Lewis & Clark University Law School is 10 Years of Rights Enforcement: Creating the Future of Crime Victim Law. More than 175 people from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia will examine legal trends in crime victims’ rights and specific issues such as sexual assault, identity theft, and the impact of the Internet and technology on victims’ rights.

“We’ve come a long way in 10 years,” said Meg Garvin, Executive Director of NCVLI and Clinical Law Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. “After a lot of litigating and educating, courts are finally recognizing victims as legal participants in the system. Finally, crime victims are being heard.”

Keynote speakers include Susan Levy, the mother of Chandra Levy whose murder drew national media attention. Levy will talk about her own experience in the judicial system and why victims’ rights are critical. Other speakers include Lewis & Clark law professor Doug Beloof, former federal judge and University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell, and nationally recognized victims’ legal authority Steve Twist.

The Conference will train lawyers and advocates on the law and the “how to” of litigating victims’ rights. Other highlights from the conference include:

  • Ensuring that the child’s voice is heard
  • Financial recovery for crime victims
  • Raped or ‘seduced:’ How language helps shape our response to sexual violence
  • Counseling crime victims about the impact of immigration law on criminal cases

Why victims’ rights?

Over the last two decades, the concept of legal rights for crime victims has steadily gained support. High profile national cases such as the Arizona shooting in January that killed six people and wounded 14, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, illustrate the need for victims to have rights during and after prosecution of the perpetrator. NCVLI has provided leadership and support behind efforts to enact victims’ rights legislation with the 2008 passage of comprehensive constitutional amendments in Oregon and California.

Rights that are enforceable allow victims access to critical information and a voice in the criminal justice process: timely notification of upcoming hearings and proceedings involving their case; the right to be present in the courtroom during proceedings; the right to confer with the prosecutor; the right to protection from the accused; the right to be heard at proceedings that affect their rights, including the sentencing following the conviction of their offender; and the right to restitution.

On May 19, 2011 the Oregon Supreme Court heard its first case brought by a victim under the new legislation. The defendant, charged with stalking the victim, reached a plea deal with the prosecution that was accepted by the trial court all without affording the victim her rights to confer or to be present and heard at the sentencing. The victim secured a free attorney trained by NCVLI and, with NCVLI’s help, appealed the case to the Oregon Supreme Court. The high court threw out the sentence because it violated the victim’s rights and ordered the trial court to redo the proceeding.

About the National Crime Victim Law Institute

NCVLI was established in 1997 to be a national resource for crime victim lawyers and victims to support the assertion and enforcement of victims’ rights in criminal and civil processes. In 1998, United States Senators Jon Kyl, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith supported the first appropriation of Congress to provide financial support for NCVLI. Based at Lewis & Clark Law School with offices in downtown Portland, Oregon, the Institute promotes balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. To learn more, visit our website at:


Participants from the 2009 conference discuss why crime victims’ rights are an important component of our criminal justice system:

See full details for NCVLI events

Learn more about crime victim rights in Oregon


Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544
Robert G. Magnuson, 949-290-9382

Ashley Temm