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San Francisco Assault Victim Gets Her Day In Court Under Marsy’s Law

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(CBS)

(CBS)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A San Francisco crime victim whose rights were violated when her attacker was released without her knowledge will get her day in court after all.

Two months ago, KCBS investigated a case involving a woman named Jenny [last name withheld at her request] who was assaulted outside the Glen Park BART station.

Even though she asserted her crime victim’s rights, under Marsy’s Law, the district attorney agreed to a plea bargain and the defendant was released, without the required notice to Jenny, who never got to appear in court and demand a prison sentence.

Under California’s Crime Victims Bill of Rights, victims must have the option of being notified of all court proceedings in their case and they get to speak in court before any plea or sentencing.

Our investigation revealed the law is routinely ignored. Jenny’s attacker was set free, on probation, with no notice, while she was rehearsing what she would have said in court to convince the judge to lock him up.

As a result of our reporting, the judge has scheduled a December 16th hearing, for Jenny to say her piece.

“This means everything to her. I mean this was a horrific, horrific event and all she’s wanted this whole time is to be heard,” said her attorney Rosanne Darling.

Darling said it’s unlikely the judge will give the defendant a stiffer sentence, but the victim will at least get to speak, with her assailant present.

“The hearing will be just to give Jenny the opportunity to be heard at sentencing, which is her right under Marsy’s Law and that was her right that was denied at the time that the plea was taken,” Darling added.

The public defender has no comment on the case while the district attorney admitted to mistakes in the way the case was handled.

The presiding judge has instructed all San Francisco judges to ask if victims have invoked their Marsy’s Law rights, and if so, to make sure they’re honored.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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