Via House Bill 567, (HB567)
The Criminal Victim Bill of Rights was updated July 1, 2010, to include the following provisions:
- The Juvenile Court must now advise the victim of the right to address the court prior to the entry of a dispositional order.
- Victims have the right to attend all delinquency proceedings including mental competency dispositions
- A victim has the "right to testify" at a sentencing hearing. Previously, victims gave oral impact statements, which were not sworn or subject to cross-examination. If a victim chooses to testify, he/she is subject to cross-examination and the testimony must be material and relevant (i.e. total family or personal history not relevant)
- Victim has an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to attend sentencing hearings on the following felony crimes: Murder, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, and Criminal Attempt to Commit Kidnapping, Rape, Aggravated Child Molestation, Aggravated Sodomy, and Aggravated Sexual Battery, Stalking Aggravated Stalking, Manufacturing, transporting, possessing with intent to distribute and offering to distribute Destructive Devices, Distribution of certain materials to persons under 21 and Conspiracy to violate the referenced crimes.
- The law now requires the court to make a finding as to the amount of restitution that is due to any victim. The order will allow Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice and The Pardons & Parole Board to collect restitution from an inmate's account.
- A victim may attend any hearing in which a defendant is entitled to attend. Victims cannot be excluded from scheduled hearings and can be heard at any hearing involving release, plea and/or sentencing of the accused.
- A victim must be notified if the accused removes an electric monitor; if accused is released on electronic monitoring, an arrest warrant is issued for the accused; and the accused is prohibited from contacting the victim
- The prosecutor must provide victim contact information to Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (i.e. Georgia Regional). The Department is required to notify the victim upon the release of the accused, if the victim requests in writing to be notified.
- Personal information received from victim for restitution is confidential and not subject to Open Records. This information is also not subject to subpoena, discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding.
- A victim has the right to refuse to submit to an interview by the accused, the accused's attorney, or an agent of the accused. The prosecuting attorney must advise a victim that he or she has the right to agree to such interview or refuse such an interview. A victim has the right to set the conditions of an interview, i.e. time, place, security, which may be present, etc.
- A victim who has been or may be subpoenaed to testify at a hearing or trial is now exempt from the provisions of O.C.G.A. 24-9-61 requiring separation or isolation. However, the court will require that the victim be scheduled to testify as early as practical in the proceedings.
- The victim of a criminal offense is entitled to be present in any court exercising jurisdiction over such offense. Applies to all courts including: State, Superior, Juvenile, Recorder's and Municipal Courts.
- The Criminal Victim's Bill of Rights has been expanded to include Elder Abuse and Forgery. Criminal Trespass and Sexual Exploitation of Children are no longer included.