The amendment would adopt the Ohio Crime Victims Bill of Rights by amending Article I, Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution. More specifically, the amendment would provide:
for the purpose of securing for victims justice and due process in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, that victims of criminal offenses and delinquent acts have the following rights:
1. to fair and respectful treatment for the victim's safety, dignity and privacy;
2. upon request, to notice of, and the right to be present at, all public proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct against the victim;
3. to be heard in any public proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, or parole, or in which the victim's rights are implicated;
4. to reasonable protection from the accused or person acting on behalf of the accused;
5. upon request, to reasonable notice of any release or escape of the accused;
6. to refuse discovery requests made by the accused, except as authorized by Article I, Section 10 of the Ohio constitution;
7. to full and timely restitution from the criminal or juvenile offender;
8. to proceedings without unreasonable delay and a prompt conclusion of the case;
9. upon request, to confer with the government's attorney; and
10. to written notice of all rights in the amendment;
that the rights of victims set forth in the amendment must be protected as vigorously as the rights of the accused;
that the victim, the government's attorney upon request of the victim, or the victim's representative may assert the victim's rights set forth in the amendment or afforded by law, in any proceeding involving the criminal or delinquent conduct against the victim or in which the victim's rights are implicated, and if the relief is denied, may petition the applicable court of appeals, which must promptly consider and decide the petition;
that the amendment does not establish a cause of action for damages or compensation against the state or its political subdivisions, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof, or any court official;
that as used in the amendment "victim" means a person against whom the criminal offense or delinquent act is committed or who is directly and proximately harmed by the offense or act, but does not include the accused or a person the court finds would not act in the best interests of a deceased, incompetent, minor, or incapacitated victim;
that all provisions of the amendment are self-executing, severable, and supersede conflicting state law; and
that the amendment takes effect ninety days after the election at which it was approved.
The amendment would repeal the existing language of Article I, Section 10a, and replace it with language that, as described above, would expand the existing rights of victims and would establish new rights of victims. And although it would remove the provision in the existing section 10a directing the General Assembly to define and provide by law certain rights of victims, the amendment would not prohibit the General Assembly from enacting laws that are consistent with the amendment, nor would it negate existing laws unless they conflict with the amendment. The amendment would also remove the provisions in the existing section 10a that it: does not confer a right to appeal or modify any decision in a criminal proceeding; and does not abridge any other right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the Ohio constitution.
The proposed amendment would expand the rights of victims under the current Section 10a and require that the rights of victims be protected as vigorously as the rights of the accused. More specifically, for the purpose of ensuring due process, respect, fairness, and justice for crime victims and their families in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, the amendment would provide victims with:
*the right to privacy and to be treated with respect, fairness, and dignity;
*the right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims;
*the right to notification in a timely manner of all proceedings in the case;
*the right to be present and heard at all court proceedings, including the right to petition the court to protect the victims rights;
*the right to a prompt conclusion of the case;
*to refuse discovery requests made by the accused, except as authorized by Article I, Section 10 of the Ohio constitution;
*the right to reasonable protection from the accused;
*the right to notice of the release or escape of the accused; and
*the right to restitution.
*The proposed amendment would not establish a cause of action for damages or compensation against the state or any political subdivision.
If approved, the amendment will be effective 90 days after the election.