Two Scales of Justice: A Reply

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Criminal Law Quarterly. Volume 35 (1993), p. 355-375.


Benefits; Canada; criminal justice; criminal law; Victim Impact Statement Programme; Victim Statements; Victims' Rights


Victims' rights tend to be associated with a conservative, crime-control agenda, and this association is borne out by some of the American reforms that do serve to erode an accused's constitutional rights. However, this erosion is neither natural nor inevitable and can easily be prevented. The current disdain with which the public view the criminal process should compel lawmakers to consider deep structural reforms that will include greater respect for the victims of crime. In order for North American jurisdictions to accommodate fully the needs of victims, it may be necessary for lawmakers to streamline the process by reducing the excesses of overcriminalization, however, even without this deep structural reform, there should be no principled reason to resist the incremental change of allowing victim participation at the post-conviction stage. Putting a human face on the sentencing process will help in combating the legitimacy crisis that plagues North American criminal justice.

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