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Public wrongs and private rights: Limiting the victim's role in a system of public prosecution

Author(s)Levine, Danielle
Title Public wrongs and private rights: Limiting the victim's role in a system of public prosecution
Source Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 104, No. 1
Date 2010
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This article outlines the history and rationale of public prosecution in the USA, and discusses the rise of the victims' rights movement. Particular consideration is given to the Crime Victims Rights Act of 2004 and the reforms it brought together with its limitations in the areas of plea bargaining and judicial discretion in sentencing. The author discusses the conflict around the meaning of mandamus, for victims who believe their rights have been denied. The author concludes by discussing a victim's rights in a trial and the importance of maintaining prosecutorial and judicial discretion. It is suggested that a grant of mandamus should only be given in exceptional cases where the law has been abused. The danger could lie in forcing prosecutors and judges to elevate victims over the defendant, threatening a fair and just adjudication of a criminal case.
Keywords Victims rights; court standing; participatory rights; court
Topic Victims rights