Schwarzenegger supports crime victim's Bill of Rights
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
June 27, 2006
OAKLAND (BCN) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in Oakland
today that he supports state legislation that would give crime
victims new rights.
Accompanied by local police chiefs and several high profile crime
victims, Schwarzenegger also said he has appointed Susan Fisher
of Sacramento to the newly-created position of Crime Victim Advocate
and that he is expediting a program to use global positioning
systems to track dangerous criminals.
Fisher, 53, who attended the news conference at the Alameda County
Family Justice Center, most recently served as chair of the state
Board of Parole Hearings.
"Being a victim of crime is a life-altering experience and
I know that victims face challenges and hardships most of us cannot
even imagine," Schwarzenegger said.
He said he supports "The Crime Victims Bill of Rights,"
a comprehensive legislative proposal authored by Assemblywoman
Nicole Parra, D-Hanford, to help crime victims overcome the hardships
caused by criminal acts.
The legislation aims to build upon the efforts of Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who introduced
a similar constitutional amendment at the federal level by creating
a strong set of rights for victims in the state constitution.
If passed, the state legislation, ACA 37, would give victims
new rights, allowing them to have direct contact with the district
attorney in serious, violent cases, attend all public hearings
and be present and heard at parole hearings. Victims would also
be allowed to receive information about their case, including
sentencing and release data, and have a lawyer or the district
attorney enforce their rights in court.
Schwarzenegger said he has directed the California Department
of Corrections and Rehabilitation to place Global Positioning
System monitors on 2,000 offenders over the next two years instead
of the originally scheduled four years, cutting the time in half.
Last year, he signed a pilot program into law that he said will
better track the worst 2,000 sex offenders and other criminals
in California and enhance public safety.
Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy O'Malley
said "today is a momentous day for the victims of crime"
thanks to Schwarzenegger's advocacy for victims' rights.
Kim Petersen of the Sund/Carrington Foundation, which offers
rewards to help solve crimes, said crime victims need support
and resources because "they feel they have no voice and no
Sharon Rocha, the mother of murder victim Laci Peterson, attended
the news conference, as did Marc Klaas, the father of murder victim
Bay Area police chiefs who attended were Wayne Tucker of Oakland,
Ray Samuels of Newark, Ken James of Emeryville and Pete Dunbar
of Pleasant Hill.
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