Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) announced Senate passage of legislation he sponsored that would protect the rights of victims of crimes. This legislation, which was sent to the Assembly, would require that personal information of crime victims and witnesses be kept private in court.
The legislation would protect crime victims and witnesses by allowing them to refuse to answer personal questions in open court. It would further protect them by not permitting any other party from releasing their personal information in open court. The information covered under this legislation includes home address and phone number and information about their place of work.
Disclosure of this information would only be permitted if the court ruled that the personal information was either necessary or relevant. The burden to establish the need for disclosure would be on the defense or on any party seeking this disclosure.
While this legislation would protect victims and witnesses in all court cases, its effect would be greatest in cases that involve domestic violence, sexual abuse and gang and drug related crimes.
"Crime victims who have already been traumatized and witnesses who are brave enough to come forward must have the full protection of our court system. This measure would increase both safety and peace of mind and limit the ability of criminals to intimidate those testifying against them," stated Senator Flanagan. "Law abiding people should never have to fear our justice system. This legislation places their rights at the forefront and may also help persuade others to come forward."
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