State Rep. Graham Filler today led the Michigan House in a vote to better protect crime victims, give them a stronger voice in the criminal justice process, and make sure they are informed about their rights.
Filler, who represents Clinton and Gratiot counties, worked closely with crime victims and their families in his former role as an assistant Attorney General.
“The lives of crime victims are forever altered by the horrific circumstances they have to overcome,” Filler said. “I stand with victims and their families, and I want to make sure they are treated with respect and compassion as they navigate the criminal justice system.”
Filler’s bipartisan plan strengthens and expands existing rights and add new safeguards to account for modern technology.
House Bill 5679 adds certain crimes enacted after the passage of the Crime Victim’s Rights Act to ensure victims of those crimes are afforded the rights they are due. These rights include the right to consultation with the prosecutor about the case and discussion of any potential plea agreement before such an agreement is finalized. Victims also have the right to attend the trial and other court hearings and to provide an impact statement at the time of sentence.
The plan also protects the rights of crime victims to be heard in court during hearings that use remote technology, a tool used more and more frequently since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. House Bill 5681 ensures victims can deliver their victim-impact statements using remote technology. House Bill 5680 ensures a victim’s image can be protected from disclosure when the court proceedings are conducted through internet streaming, or other types of online platforms.
Finally, House Bill 5560 ensures survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are connected with confidential supportive services.
“As judicial procedures evolve and change, we must make sure crime victims are not lost in the process,” Filler said. “This plan will make sure their voices continue to be heard.”
House Bills 5679-81 and 5560 now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
An income tax cut is expected to take place this year thanks to fiscally conservative practices, a large increase in surplus revenue coming into the state, and a 2015 law that triggers an automatic reduction of the state income tax when general fund revenues increase at a rate greater than inflation.