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Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Crime Victim's Plight

     In our criminal justice system, when one commits a crime, it's not against the victim of that offense, but against the state. This legal fiction is derived from English common law where all crime was against the king. The crime-against-the-state concept means that real victims of crime have no say in how or if their cases are prosecuted, or even if they are investigated. The system is completely under the control of police and prosecutors. As a result, many victims of crime are victimized twice, first by the criminal, and then by the legal system.

     The small percentage of crimes that lead to someone's arrest are usually offenses that require little or no investigation. Criminal investigators hate mysteries, and prosecutors avoid complicated, difficult cases that may not result in convictions. At least 90 percent of this country's criminal convictions are the result of plea bargains. Over the years, fewer and fewer criminal cases go to trial. As a result, very few convicted criminals end up in prison for the crimes they have actually committed. For example, criminals who commit aggravated assault plead guilty to simple assault, rapists plead to lesser sexual offenses, and murderers go to prison for voluntary manslaughter.

     Usually the victims of crime, when it comes to their criminal cases, are ignored and kept in the dark. The only time they play a role in determining the fate of the people who victimized them is when they are called to testify on behalf of the prosecution. This, of course, exposes them to grueling cross-examinations by aggressive defense attorneys. In many rape cases, it's the victim who ends up on trial.

     Among the most abused victims of crime are children who satisfy the perverted sexual urges of America's huge pedophile population. The victims of these sexual predators are thrown to the wolves by organizations like the Catholic Church and The Boy Scouts of America who are more interested in self-preservation than child protection and criminal justice. Because their victims are powerless, intimidated children, only a small percentage of pedophiles end up in prison. And when some of these degenerates are eventually identified, the passage of time makes it impossible to prosecute them.

     For people who live in cities where district attorneys no longer prosecute what they consider low-level crime, the likelihood of being harassed in the street by a homeless person begging for drug money, having one's car broken into, or losing a wallet or purse to a mugger, increases dramatically. The crime rates in these decriminalized cities has skyrocketed. In places like Seattle, Washington and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, these "progressive" prosecutors blame society for driving poor, oppressed criminals into lives of crime. In other words, the victims of crimes are not only ignored, they are blamed for their own victimhood.

     Crime victims, particularly in cases of celebrated offenses, are brutalized by the media. This is because in America, true crime sells newspapers and books, and attracts television viewers. The more horrific the crime, the more value it has as entertainment.

     In the late Twentieth Century, attempts to provide victims a larger say in the criminal justice process led to the formation of a variety of victim's rights organizations that lobbied for such reforms as victim impact statements at sentencing hearings, victim compensations funds, and notification rules that require the authorities to notify crime victims of the early release of prisoners.

     The crime victim's plight is not limited to the way our criminal justice system works. Society itself, particularly with regard to murder cases, does not fully know how to deal with, or fully understand, the profound and prolonged suffering of murder victims' families. This reality has led to the formation of victim support groups like Parents of Murdered Children, an organization with chapters across the country.

     While crime victims today have it slightly better than before, most of the attention and concern among politicians, defense attorneys, and academics, is directed at the criminal. One national politician believes that even convicted terrorists should be allowed to vote. Criminal justice reform legislation usually ends up letting more criminals out of prison. When too many Americans break our drug laws, state legislators across the country make more drugs legal. And while it's hard to believe, there are attorneys in the country who devote their entire careers to saving the lives of death row inmates who have committed unspeakable crimes. Meanwhile, the families of the victims tortured, raped and murdered by these criminal sociopaths, are ignored.

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