1. If you were a sentencing judge, what kinds of information would you like a victim impact statement to contain?
2. Do you believe that a victims’ rights amendment to the U. S. Constitution is needed to balance the rights of crime victims with those of suspects? Why or why not?
3. How did the status of crime victims during the historical Golden Age of the Victim differ from the status of victims today? Discuss how a changed view of the nature of crime has affected the status of victims.
4. You work for a state legislator, Amy Vicrites. I. M. Swindler was convicted of defrauding thousands of people of hundreds of millions of dollars in retirement funds. He was convicted, sentenced to 40 years in prison, and fined $ 500,000, and is currently serving his prison sentence in one of your state’s prisons. As a consequence of the fine, successful lawsuits by the victims, and legal fees, Swindler is now broke. Indeed, over $200 million in losses to the victims have been lost. Swindler is charismatic and his case was a cause célèbre. As a result, he is still popular. To make money he posted the following items for sale on eBay:
A. Worked Rich, Retired Broke. He wrote a book detailing his crimes, the investigation of his crimes, his trial, and his incarceration. Price: $ 75.
B. Book with Autograph: A copy of Worked Rich, Retired Broke with his autograph. Price: $ 125.
Your state has a victims’ rights statute. The State Victim Support Agency sued Swindler under the law, seeking all of the revenues from his sales, which are estimated to be about $200,000. Swindler defended against the lawsuit by alleging that the law violated his First Amendment free speech rights by targeting his writings. The trial court, appellate court, and state supreme court all found for Swindler, dismissing the suit. Your boss, Vicrites, is furious, as are many people in the state. She has asked you to review the law and to revise the language to bring it into conformity with the First Amendment. She wants to retain the authority to prevent criminals from making money on their crimes in the future. She accepts that nothing can be done with Swindler.
Your Assignment: Revise the following statute in a way that retains the authority of the state to take the revenues earned from crimes by the perpetrators of crimes, to be distributed to the victims of the crimes or to the state if the victims have been fully compensated. Explain why you added specific elements to the new statute.
Criminal Anti-Profit and Revenue Redistribution Law
Any person, organization, or entity that earns a profit from the writing, publishing, creating, distributing, or posting of a book, video, or other media about a crime for which there has been a conviction in a court of the state shall withhold 100% of the royalties and other revenues due to the person convicted of the crime(s) that is the subject of the writing, if any. The monies withheld under this provision shall be sent to the State Victim Support Agency and it shall distribute those funds to the victims of the crime or deposit them into the state’s victim support fund, as provided for elsewhere in these laws.