Governor Malloy: Gov. Malloy: Crime Victims Deserve to Have Their Rights Enforced

{Governor Malloy Press Release Masthead}
 April 7, 2014
Governor Forms Advisory Commission to Review Policies Protecting the Victims of Crime
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he is creating the Victims’ Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission – an expert panel of criminal justice and victim service professionals who will review policies, services, and victims’ rights in the state, and make specific recommendations in the areas of compliance with and enforcement of the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims.
The Governor made the announcement during Crime Victims’ Rights Week, explaining that he created the group to ensure that the state is protecting the rights of crime victims.
“Connecticut has been at the forefront of many criminal justice reforms and has enacted many measures considered to be national models and best practices,” Governor Malloy said.  “We are committed to meeting the mandate that our state constitution and laws impose on all of us, and I am confident that this commission will bring me a number of common sense recommendations that will maintain our status as best in the nation when it comes to honoring and advancing crime victims’ rights.”
State Victim Advocate Garvin G. Ambrose explained that in recent years, there have been a number of concerns about whether the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims are adequately understood and observed by criminal justice professionals, including concerns regarding failure to issue written orders of restitution, lack of notice to victims of court proceedings and opportunities to address the court regarding plea bargain agreements and at sentencing, lack of adequate private meeting space in courthouses, and other aspects of the criminal justice system.
“As Connecticut approaches the twentieth anniversary of the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment to the Rights of Victims of Crime, in 2016, I thank Governor Malloy for agreeing to take this historic step forward in recognition of the necessity for the enforcement of those rights,” Ambrose said.  “With the creation of this commission, Connecticut is once again setting the standard for the country.  This commission will look for ways to guarantee that those professionals who frequently interact with our crime victims throughout the state have uniform sets of policies and tools in place to ensure compliance with the rights of crime victims, adequate delivery of necessary services, as well as a set of enforcement mechanisms and remedies should any of those rights be violated.”
Laura Cordes, Executive Director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, said, “Far too many sexual assault victims struggle to find and access the justice they deserve following an assault. I applaud the Governor for elevating this issue and welcome the opportunity to collaboratively identify ways that our state can ensure the rights of all crime victims.”
“We are grateful for the leadership that Governor Malloy and State Victim Advocate Garvin Ambrose have provided with the creation of a Victim’s Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission,” Karen Jarmoc, Executive Director, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said.  “We are confident that this commission will play an important role in establishing strong policies that protect victims of domestic violence and hold offenders accountable for their actions.”
“It is an honor to be chosen to serve on the Victims' Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission,” said Janice Heggie Margolis, Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Connecticut.  “MADD advocates for victims of alcohol and drug-related crashes daily. It is time to review the Connecticut Constitutional Victim Rights and determine if they are compliant with best practices. It is imperative that the Commission provide the Governor any statutory or policy changes immediately - MADD expects no less for victims and their surviving families.”
Among its mandates, the advisory commission shall:
  • Compile a comprehensive inventory of victims’ rights provisions of the Connecticut Constitution, General Statutes and Agency Regulations
  • Determine whether and to what extent these provisions have been implemented
  • Consider whether there should be a Model Policy for interactions with crime victims to ensure that they are provided accurate information regarding rights and remedies, that those rights are enforced, and advised regarding available services
  • Survey rights, remedies and services available in other states and from the federal government
  • Recommend to the Governor any statutory or policy changes necessary in order to protect and enforce crime victims’ rights, including training and coordination among state and local criminal justice agencies and social service providers

The commission will not examine any provisions related to Connecticut’s freedom of information laws, but instead will focus on the direct relationship between victims’ rights and the criminal justice system as a whole.
The members will include:
  • Chairman: Garvin G. Ambrose – State Victim Advocate
  • Marcy Carlone – Professor of Victimology, University of St. Joseph
  • Patrick L. Carroll, III – Chief Court Administrator, Judicial Branch
  • Linda Cimino – Director, Office of Victim Services, Judicial Branch
  • Laura Cordes – Executive Director, Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc.
  • James Dzurenda – Commissioner, Department of Correction
  • Mario T. Gaboury – Dean and Professor, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice &  Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven
  • Ana González – Commissioner, Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; Director of Community Outreach, Albertus Magnus College
  • Janice Heggie-Margolis – Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Connecticut
  • Kevin T. Kane – Chief State’s Attorney
  • Jillian Knox – Victim Services Unit, New Haven Police Department
  • Dawn Luddy – Crime victim and member of the Victim Advocate Advisory Committee
  • Karen Jarmoc – Executive Director, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Anne Mahoney – Assistant State’s Attorney, Hartford Superior Court
  • Jessica Norton – Victim Advocate, Survivors of Homicide
  • Bethany Phillips – Criminal defense attorney, Butler, Norris, & Gold
  • James C. Rovella – Chief, Hartford Police Department
  • Dora Schriro – Commissioner, Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection
  • Susan Storey – Chief Public Defender
  • Andrew Woods – Executive Director, Hartford Communities That Care, Inc.
  • Chair, Board of Pardons and Paroles

The commission will develop a schedule of meetings to be made available at a later date, and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor no later than January 1, 2015.
**Download: Governor Malloy’s proclamation designating April 6 through 12 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week
    For Immediate Release: April 7, 2014
    Contact: David Bednarz
    860-524-7315 (office)
    860-770-9792 (cell)