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    77-37-1             Legislative intent.
    77-37-2             Definitions.
    77-37-3             Bill of Rights.
    77-37-4             Additional rights - Children.
    77-37-5             Remedies - Victims' Rights Committee



77-37-1. Legislative intent.

(1) The Legislature recognizes the duty of victims and witnesses of crime to fully and voluntarily cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, the essential nature of citizen cooperation to state and local law enforcement efforts, and the general effectiveness and well-being of the criminal justice system of this state. In this chapter, the Legislature declares its intent to ensure that all victims and witnesses of crime are treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity, and that the rights extended in this chapter to victims and witnesses of crime are honored and protected by law in a manner no less vigorous than protections afforded criminal defendants.

(2) The Legislature finds it is necessary to provide child victims and child witnesses with additional consideration and different treatment than that usually afforded to adults. The treatment should ensure that children's participation in the criminal justice process be conducted in the most effective and least traumatic, intrusive, or intimidating manner.


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77-37-2. Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1) "Child" means a person who is younger than 18 years of age, unless otherwise specified in statute. The rights to information as extended in this chapter also apply to the parents, custodian, or legal guardians of children.

(2) "Family member" means spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or legal guardian.

(3) "Victim" means a person against whom a crime has allegedly been committed, or against whom an act has allegedly been committed by a juvenile or incompetent adult, which would have been a crime if committed by a competent adult.

(4) "Witness" means any person who has been subpoenaed or is expected to be summoned to testify for the prosecution or who by reason of having relevant information is subject to call or likely to be called as a witness for the prosecution, whether any action or proceeding has commenced.


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77-37-3. Bill of Rights.

(1) The bill of rights for victims and witnesses is:
(a) Victims and witnesses have a right to be informed as to the level of protection from intimidation and harm available to them, and from what sources, as they participate in criminal justice proceedings as designated by Section 76-8-508, regarding witness tampering, and Section 76-8-509, regarding threats against a victim. Law enforcement, prosecution, and corrections personnel have the duty to timely provide this information in a form which is useful to the victim.
(b) Victims and witnesses, including children and their guardians, have a right to be informed and assisted as to their role in the criminal justice process. All criminal justice agencies have the duty to provide this information and assistance.
(c) Victims and witnesses have a right to clear explanations regarding relevant legal proceedings; these explanations shall be appropriate to the age of child victims and witnesses. All criminal justice agencies have the duty to provide these explanations.
(d) Victims and witnesses should have a secure waiting area that does not require them to be in close proximity to defendants or the family and friends of defendants. Agencies controlling facilities shall, whenever possible, provide this area.
(e) Victims may seek restitution or reparations, including medical costs, as provided in Title 63M, Chapter 7, Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse, and Sections 62A-7-109.5, 77-38a-302, and 77-27-6. State and local government agencies that serve victims have the duty to have a functional knowledge of the procedures established by the Crime Victim Reparations Board and to inform victims of these procedures.
(f) Victims and witnesses have a right to have any personal property returned as provided in Sections 77-24-1 through 77-24-5. Criminal justice agencies shall expeditiously return the property when it is no longer needed for court law enforcement or prosecution purposes.
(g) Victims and witnesses have the right to reasonable employer intercession services, including pursuing employer cooperation in minimizing employees' loss of pay and other benefits resulting from their participation in the criminal justice process. Officers of the court shall provide these services and shall consider victims' and witnesses' schedules so that activities which conflict can be avoided. Where conflicts cannot be avoided, the victim may request that the responsible agency intercede with employers or other parties.
(h) Victims and witnesses, particularly children, should have a speedy disposition of the entire criminal justice process. All involved public agencies shall establish policies and procedures to encourage speedy disposition of criminal cases.
(i) Victims and witnesses have the right to timely notice of judicial proceedings they are to attend and timely notice of cancellation of any proceedings. Criminal justice agencies have the duty to provide these notifications. Defense counsel and others have the duty to provide timely notice to prosecution of any continuances or other changes that may be required.
(j) Victims of sexual offenses have a right to be informed of their right to request voluntary testing for themselves for HIV infection as provided in Section 76-5-503 and to request mandatory testing of the alleged sexual offender for HIV infection as provided in Section 76-5-502. The law enforcement office where the sexual offense is reported shall have the responsibility to inform victims of this right.
(2) Informational rights of the victim under this chapter are based upon the victim providing the victim's current address and telephone number to the criminal justice agencies involved in the case.


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77-37-4. Additional rights - Children.

In addition to all rights afforded to victims and witnesses under this chapter, child victims and witnesses shall be afforded these rights:

(1) Children have the right to protection from physical and emotional abuse during their involvement with the criminal justice process.

(2) Children are not responsible for inappropriate behavior adults commit against them and have the right not to be questioned, in any manner, nor to have allegations made, implying this responsibility. Those who interview children have the responsibility to consider the interests of the child in this regard.

(3) Child victims and witnesses have the right to have interviews relating to a criminal prosecution kept to a minimum. All agencies shall coordinate interviews and ensure that they are conducted by persons sensitive to the needs of children.

(4) Child victims have the right to be informed of available community resources that might assist them and how to gain access to those resources. Law enforcement and prosecutors have the duty to ensure that child victims are informed of community resources, including counseling prior to the court proceeding, and have those services available throughout the criminal justice process.

(5) Child victims have the right, once an investigation has been initiated by law enforcement or the Division of Child and Family Services, to have their investigative interviews that are conducted at a Children's Justice Center, including both video and audio recordings, protected. Except as provided in Subsection (5)(b) and (c), interviews may not be distributed, released, or displayed to anyone without a court order.
(a) The court order:
(i) shall describe with particularity to whom the interview may be released and prohibit further distribution or viewing by anyone not named in the order; and
(ii) may impose restrictions on access to the materials considered reasonable to protect the privacy of the child victim.
(b) Following the conclusion of any legal proceedings in which the recordings or transcripts are used, the court shall order the recordings and transcripts in the court's file sealed and preserved.
(c)
(i) The Division of Child and Family Services or law enforcement may distribute a copy of the interview:
(A) to the prosecutor's office;
(B) the Attorney General's child protection division;
(C) to another law enforcement agency; and
(D) to the attorney for the child who is the subject of the interview.
(ii) Any further distribution, release, or display is subject to this Subsection (5).
(d) In a criminal case, the prosecutor may distribute a copy of the interview to the attorney for the defendant or a pro se defendant pursuant to a valid request for discovery. The attorney for the defendant in a criminal case may permit the defendant to view the interview, but may not distribute or release the interview to their client. Any further distribution, release, or display is subject to this Subsection (5).
(e) Pro se defendants shall be advised by the court that an interview received as part of discovery is confidential and may not be distributed, released, or displayed without prior authorization from the court. A court's failure to give this notice may not be used as a defense to prosecution for a violation of the disclosure rule.
(f) Multidisciplinary teams or other state agencies that provide services to children and families may view interviews of children, and families for whom they are providing services, but may not receive copies.
(g) Violation of this section is:
(i) punishable by contempt if distribution, release, or display occurs before the resolution of the case and the court still has jurisdiction over the defendant; or
(ii) a class B misdemeanor if the case has been resolved and the court no longer has jurisdiction over the defendant.


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77-37-5. Remedies - Victims' Rights Committee.

(1) In each judicial district, the Utah Council on Victims of Crime, established in Section 63M-7-601, shall appoint a person who shall chair a judicial district victims' rights committee consisting of:
(a) a county attorney or district attorney;
(b) a sheriff;
(c) a corrections field services administrator;
(d) an appointed victim advocate;
(e) a municipal attorney;
(f) a municipal chief of police; and
(g) other representatives as appropriate.
(2) The committee shall meet at least semiannually to review progress and problems related to this chapter, Title 77, Chapter 38, Rights of Crime Victims Act, Title 77, Chapter 38a, Crime Victims Restitution Act, and Utah Constitution Article I, Section 28. Victims and other interested parties may submit matters of concern to the victims' rights committee. The committee may hold a hearing open to the public on any appropriate matter of concern and may publish its findings. These matters shall also be considered at the meetings of the victims' rights committee. The committee shall forward minutes of all meetings to the Utah Council on Victims of Crime for review and other appropriate action.

(3) If a victims' rights committee is unable to resolve a complaint, it may refer the complaint to the Utah Council on Victims of Crime.

(4) The Utah Office for Victims of Crime shall provide materials to local law enforcement to inform every victim of a sexual offense of the right to request testing of the convicted sexual offender and of the victim as provided in Section 76-5-502.

(5)
(a) If a person acting under color of state law willfully or wantonly fails to perform duties so that the rights in this chapter are not provided, an action for injunctive relief may be brought against the individual and the government entity that employs the individual.
(b) For all other violations, if the committee finds a violation of a victim's right, it shall refer the matter to the appropriate court for further proceedings consistent with Subsection 77-38-11(2).
(c) The failure to provide the rights in this chapter or Title 77, Chapter 38, Rights of Crime Victims Act, does not constitute cause for a judgment against the state or any government entity, or any individual employed by the state or any government entity, for monetary damages, attorney fees, or the costs of exercising any rights under this chapter.
(6) The person accused of and subject to prosecution for the crime or the act which would be a crime if committed by a competent adult, has no standing to make a claim concerning any violation of the provisions of this chapter.


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