Oregon Crime Victim Rights Enforcement, Measure 51 (May 2008)

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Oregon Crime Victim Rights Enforcement, Measure 51 was on the May 20, 2008 ballot in Oregon as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

Measure 51 granted crime victims the right to assert a claim in a pending case or seek a writ of mandamus if no case is pending. It allowed the victim of a crime to request the assistance of the prosecuting attorney assigned to the case to assert the rights of the crime victim, and allowed the prosecuting attorney the discretion to assert or not assert the rights of the victim. Measure 51 defined "victim" as any person determined by the court as well as the prosecuting attorney to have suffered direct financial, psychological or physical harm from a crime.

Election results

Measure 51
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 744,195 74.9%
No249,14325.1%
Election results from Oregon Blue Book website

Text of measure

Summary

Measure 51's official ballot summary said:

The measure grants a victim the right to assert a claim in a pending case or seek a writ of mandamus if no case is pending. Allows the victim to request the assistance of the prosecuting attorney to assert the victim’s rights. Allows the prosecuting attorney the discretion to assert or not assert the rights of the victim. Defines “victim” as any person determined by the court as well as the prosecuting attorney to have suffered direct financial, psychological or physical harm. Establishes that this measure does not suspend a criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding if the suspension would violate a right of a defendant guaranteed by the Oregon Constitution as well as the Constitution of the United States. Allows the Legislative Assembly to enact laws further effectuating victims’ right to seek redress under Section 42.[1][2]

Ballot title

Measure 51's official ballot title was:

Enables Crime Victims To Enforce Existing Constitutional Rights In Prosecutions, Delinquency Proceedings; Authorizes Implementing Legislation."[3][2]

Full text

The full text of the amendments proposed by Measure 51 is available here.


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Measures 51 and 52

The Oregon State Legislature proposed two similar measures for the May 20, 2008 statewide ballot.

Taken together, Measures 51 and 52 amended the Oregon Constitution to allow crime victims a way to practically enforce their current constitutional rights as set out in Sections 42 and Section 43 of the Oregon Constitution. Both measures granted a victim the right to assert a claim in a pending case or seek a writ of mandamus if no case is pending. They both allowed the victim to request the assistance of the prosecuting attorney to assert the victim’s rights, and also allowed the prosecuting attorney the discretion to assert or not assert the rights of the victim. The bills defined “victim” as any person determined by the court as well as the prosecuting attorney to have suffered direct financial, psychological or physical harm. Neither measure suspended a criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding if the suspension would violate a right of a defendant guaranteed by the Oregon Constitution as well as the Constitution of the United States.[4]

The differences?

  • Measure 51 was about exercising constitutional rights participating in prosecutions/juvenile delinquency proceedings.
  • Measure 52 was about exercising constitutional rights regarding protection from offenders.[5]

Supporters

  • Douglas E. Beloof, Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark College and Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute testified in support of Measure 51.[6]
  • "Crime Victims United" urged a "yes" vote, writing: "HJR 49 and 50 will allow victims to defend their constitutional rights on appeal when violated. Presently there are 34 states that have adopted constitutional rights for crime victims. Only two of those states, Oregon and Virginia, are without standing or remedy for those rights. The reason for HJR 49 and 50 is simply because the current rights are illusory without remedy if they are violated. And, they must be placed in the Constitution because currently the Constitution prohibits remedy."[7]

See also

External links

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References