May 22, 2018

Crime Victim’s Rights

Union County State’s Attorney’s Office

Victim’s Rights – Constitutional (see below for Victim’s Rights – Statutory)


Pursuant to §29 of Article VI of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, A victim shall have the following rights, beginning at the time of victimization:

  1. The right to due process and to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s dignity;
  1. The right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse;
  1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused and any person acting on behalf of the accused;
  1. The right to have safety and welfare of the victim and the victim’s family considered when setting bail or making release decisions;
  1. The right to prevent the disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information about the victim, and to be notified of any request for such information or records;
  1. The right to privacy, which includes the right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interaction to which the victim consents;
  1. The right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of, and to be present at, all proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct, including release, plea, sentencing, adjudication and disposition, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated;
  1. The right to be promptly notified of any release or escape of the accused;
  1. The right to be heard in any proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, adjudication, disposition or parole, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated;
  1. The right to confer with the attorney for the government;
  1. The right to provide information regarding the impact of the offender’s conduct on the victim and the victim’s family to the individual responsible for conducting any pre-sentence or disposition investigation or compiling any pre-sentence investigation report or plan of disposition, and to have any such information considered in any sentencing or disposition recommendations;
  1. The right to receive a copy of any pre-sentence report or plan of disposition, and any other report or record relevant to the exercise of a victim’s right, except for those portions made confidential by law;
  1. The right to the prompt return of the victim’s property when no longer needed as evidence in the case;
  1. The right to full and timely restitution in every case and from each offender for all losses suffered by the victim as a result of the criminal conduct and as provided by law for all losses suffered as a result of delinquent conduct. All monies and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution shall be first applied to the restitution owed to the victim before paying any amounts owed to the government;
  1. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, and to prompt final conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings;
  1. The right to be informed of the conviction, adjudication, sentence, disposition, place and time of incarceration, detention or other disposition of the offender, any scheduled release date of the offender, and the release of or the escape by the offender from custody;
  1. The right to be informed in a timely manner of all post-judgment processes and procedures, to participate in such processes and procedures, to provide information to the release authority to be considered before any release decision is made, and to be notified of any release decision regarding the offender. Any parole authority shall extend the right to be heard to any person harmed by the offender;
  1. The right to be informed in a timely manner of clemency and expungement procedures, to provide information to the Governor, the court, any clemency board and other authority in these procedures, and to have that information considered before a clemency or expungement decision is made, and to be notified of such decision in advance of any release of the offender; and
  1. The right to be informed of these rights, and to be informed that a victim can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to the victim’s rights. This information shall be made available to the general public and provided to each crime victim in what is referred to as a Marcy’s Card.

As used in this section, the term, victim, means a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act or against whom the crime or delinquent act is committed. The term also includes any spouse, parent, grandparent, child, sibling, grandchild, or guardian, and any person with a relationship to the victim that is substantially similar to a listed relationship, and includes a lawful representative of a victim who is deceased, incompetent, a minor, or physically or mentally incapacitated. The term does not include the accused or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a deceased, incompetent, minor or incapacitated victim.

Victim’s Rights – Statutory

Victims of crime, including victims of driving under the influence vehicle accidents, have the following rights as designated by the South Dakota Legislature:

  • Notification of scheduled bail hearings and release from custody, notification by the prosecutor’s office when the case is received and to whom the case is assigned, and notification in advance of the date of preliminary hearing and trial;
  • To be informed of what the charges mean and the elements necessary for conviction;
  • To testify at scheduled bail or bond hearings regarding any evidence indicating whether the offender represents a danger to the victim or the community if released;
  • To be protected from intimidation by the defendant, including enforcement of orders of protection;
  • To offer written input into whether plea bargaining or sentencing bargaining agreements should be entered into;
  • To be present during all scheduled phases of the trial or hearings, except where otherwise ordered by the judge hearing the case or by contrary policy of the presiding circuit judge;
  • To be prepared as a witness, including information about basic rules of evidence, cross-examination, objections and hearsay;
  • To provide to the court a written or oral victim impact statement prior to sentencing regarding the financial and emotional impact of the crime on the victim and his/her family as well as recommendations for restitution and sentencing and 23A-28-8 notwithstanding, the right to appear at any hearing during which a change in the plan of restitution is to be considered;
  • To receive restitution, whether the convicted criminal is probated or incarcerated, unless the court or parole board provides to
    the victim on the record specific reasons for choosing not to require it;
  • To provide written input at parole hearings or with respect to commutations of sentences by the Governor, should those options be considered;
  • In a case in which the death penalty may be authorized, to provide to the court or to the jury, as appropriate, testimony about the victim and the impact of the crime on the victim’s family;
  • To be notified of the defendant’s release from custody, which notice includes:

1. Notice of the defendant’s escape from custody and return to custody following escape;

2. Notice of any other release from custody, including placement in an intensive supervision program or other alternative disposition, and any associated conditions of release;

3. Notice of parole; and

Notice of pending release of an inmate due to expiration of sentence;