Why does it often appear that the offender has more rights than the victim?

2 Answers | Add Yours

barrylangford's profile pic

barrylangford | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Appearances don't deceive, the offender does have more rights than the victim. Offenders have rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. In particular, the 5th, 6th and 8th amendments have many rights that protect offenders during the investigation and trial. Victims have no specific protections under the US Constitution. In recent years, the Victims Rights movement has attempted to gain support for a constitutional amendment to no avail. Victims do have specific rights guaranteed under many State laws, but these are normally subordinate to the defendant's rights.  

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answer to this will vary with the political attitudes of the person answering.  You should probably post questions like this in the discussion section so you get more responses.  Here is my take on this:

The rights of offenders may sometimes seem more important because it is the offenders who are on trial.  When an alleged offender is on trial, the focus is on them and whether they committed the crime, not on how traumatic the crime was for the victim.  If the offender is convicted, the voice of the victim can be heard for sentencing purposes.  During the trial, however, the focus is and should be on the accused.

A second thing to consider is this: what would a system look like that gave victims rights?  How would their rights be protected?  There is no real way to repair the harm that has been done to them through the legal process.  It may be that it "appears" that victims have fewer rights because there is really very little that the criminal justice system can do for them.

We’ve answered 317,742 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question