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Law Professor Paul Cassell to Testify on Behalf of Crime Victims

January 24, 2007 — Professor Paul Cassell of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will testify before the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 26, 2007. Cassell will urge comprehensive changes to the federal rules to protect the rights of crime victims.

Cassell will testify that the federal courts must treat crime victims “with fairness” throughout the process. The only way to fully implement that command is a thorough reworking of the federal criminal rules to integrate victims in to the day-to-day workings of the process. Cassell proposes a series of changes to insure that crime victims are protected, including:

  1. Ensuring that crime victims’ attorneys can appear in court (Rule 1)

  2. Providing for victim participation in the plea bargain process (Rule 11)

  3. Protecting victims’ addresses and telephone numbers from improper disclosure (Rule 12)

  4. Protecting victims from having personal and confidential information improperly subpoenaed (Rule 17) To justify this change, Cassell points to the subpoenas of Elizabeth Smart’s educational records.

  5. Integrating victims into the sentencing process (Rule 32)

  6. Giving victims the right to be heard at bail decisions (Rule 46)

  7. Requiring victims’ views to be considered before a case is dismissed (Rule 48)

  8. Protecting victims’ right to a speedy trial (Rule 50)

  9. Giving victims notice of court proceedings and their rights in those proceedings (Rule 60(a)(1))

  10. Guaranteeing victims the right to attend court proceedings (Rule 60(a)(2))

  11. Guaranteeing victims the right to be heard on bail, plea, sentencing, and other issues important to victims (Rule 60(a)(3))

Professor Doug Beloof of the National Crime Victims Law Institute at Lewis and Clark School of Law in Portland, Oregon, said that “Cassell’s changes provide the long overdue roadmap for ensuring that crime victims are no longer forgotten in the federal criminal justice system.” Beloof can be reached at (503) 764-6749.

For a copy of Cassell’s proposed rule changes, visit