Oregon Ballot Measure 52 (2008)
|Enables crime victims to enforce existing constitutional rights in prosecutions, delinquency proceedings;
authorizes implementing legislation.
|Source: Oregon Secretary of State |
Ballot Measure 51 was a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on the May 20, 2008 primary election ballot in the state of Oregon. The measure amended the Oregon Constitution and was passed by the voters.
Section 43 of Article I of the Oregon Constitution (the Bill of Rights) establishes rights of crime victims in adult criminal and juvenile delinquency cases. Section 43 establishes the right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the adult criminal and juvenile delinquency process and the right to have decisions by the court about the pretrial release of the accused based upon the principles of reasonable protection of the victim and the public, and the likelihood that the accused will appear for trial.
Currently, victims cannot enforce effectively any of the rights established in section 43 because section 43 provides that assertion of a victim's rights cannot invalidate a court ruling or suspend a case and because district attorneys are the only parties to a case that have authority to assert the victim's section 43 rights. Thus, victims cannot appear in court to assert their section 43 rights and cannot appeal from or otherwise challenge a ruling of a court denying any of their section 43 rights. The constitution prevents the legislature from providing victims such procedural rights by statute.
Measure 52 amended section 43 of Oregon's Bill of Rights whereby victims could individually seek remedies for violations of section 43 "by due course of law." Victims of crime could challenge a ruling of a court denying the victim a right secured for the victim by section 43. To effectuate their rights under section 43, the change allows victims to seek a delay in an adult criminal or juvenile delinquency case. Victims can pursue remedies in the criminal or juvenile delinquency case if one is pending, or, if no such case is pending, could initiate a case of their own. If the victim and the district attorney agreed, the district attorney can enforce the victim's section 43 rights. The measure authorizes the legislature to enact statutes providing the details of victims' remedial processes, including reasonable limitations on the time allowed for filing claims and the circumstances in which appeals are allowed.
The measure continues the current provision of section 43 that prevents a recovery of money damages for violation of a victim's rights, and the current provision that prevents an assertion of a victim's rights from invalidating an accusatory instrument, conviction or adjudication, or from terminating any criminal or juvenile delinquency case at any point after the case begins. The measure also provides that no claim for a right established in section 43 shall suspend a criminal or juvenile delinquency case if suspension would violate a right of a defendant or alleged youth offender guaranteed by the Oregon Constitution or United States Constitution.
Estimate of Financial Impact
The direct financial impact to state and local governments is indeterminate because of the uncertainty of how many victims choose to bring an enforcement action to protect rights guaranteed under section 43, Article I of the Oregon Constitution, but denied by the court, district attorney or other public agency. The cost of this measure could increase the number of pretrial release hearings and increase the number of criminal defendants held and the length of incarceration before, during or after trials. Current provisions of the constitution establish a victim's right to be reasonably protected from the defendant during the criminal justice process, including pretrial detention of a criminal defendant. Current constitutional provisions require that there shall be no bail for a defendant accused of a violent felony where the defendant is a danger to the victim or others. Few of these criminal defendants awaiting trial are currently released, so the number of cases affected by this measure may be minimal. The measure authorizes the legislature to enact laws providing detailed procedures for claims by victims, including the establishment of reasonable limitations on the time allowed victims to assert their rights and prescribing procedures for appeal. Legislation providing such procedures and limitations could change the direct costs of this measure.
- Bradbury, Bill (20 May 2008). "Official Results – May 20, 2008 Primary Election" (Website). Elections Division. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
- Bradbury, Bill (20 May 2008). "Measure 52" (Website). Online Voters' Guide for the May 20, 2008 Primary Election. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
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