[name and address of courthouse]
Recently I was in the above courthouse on business and nowhere was there in evidence a statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims as described in the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act. That Act states in Section 4 (b) that:
"A statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims set forth in paragraph (a) of this Section shall be given to a crime victim at the initial contact with the criminal justice system by the appropriate authorities and shall be conspicuously posted in all court facilities."
As someone who is very concerned with protecting victim rights in Illinois, I am writing to respectfully request that the courthouse in question, and all other courthouses in Illinois, be brought into compliance with this law. Several victim activist organizations with which I am connected are also working on this initiative as it has gone too long ignored or unrecognized.
Victims are often marginalized in the legal system and have had to work very hard to protect the rights that have been recognized only relatively recently. The continued intentional and unintentional violation and abuse of these rights is often a difficult blow to those who have lost so much already. The ignorance on the part of victims with regard to their rights is often a serious obstacle to their being able to function properly in the criminal justice system and be protected from further traumatization.
I would greatly appreciate a response as to how and when this oversight will be corrected, and trust that it will be in a timely manner. I know that there may be objections to this requirement by those who work in the courthouses, but their objections cannot overthrow the law as enacted by the State Legislature by such an overwhelming margin.
It is common in many courthouses to conspicuously place an explanation of the rights of defendants. I would submit that is is more than appropriate, and would send an important message to the public, that the rights of the victims belong alongside those of the defendant as our laws are designed to protect all members of our community equally.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and I hope that we will be able to come to a resolution that will be in the best interests of all concerned.