Victim's Rights and Resources

Message from Chief Rick Collins

When criminals are arrested, the United States Constitution guarantees them over 20 individual rights.  It is only fair that  victims are also accorded rights, so the “Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008,” also known as “Marsy’s Law,” provides victims with those rights to justice and due process.

Marsy’s Law was named after Marsalee Nicholas, a UC Santa   Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her  ex-boyfriend.  A week after the murder, Marsy’s mother was confronted by the accused murderer.  She did not know that he had been released on bail.  The courts, at that time, had no obligation to let the family of a murder victim know of the release of the accused.  The approval of Marsy’s Law changes this.  Courts must take into consideration the safety of victims and family when setting bail and release conditions.

 The officers of Ceres Police Department will enforce these rights for you, proactively pursuing all avenues that lead to a successful prosecution of the offender

Justice with compassion - that is my pledge to you.


1. Fairness and Respect

 To be treated with fairness and respect for his or her privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.

 2. Protection from the Defendant

 To be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons acting on behalf of the defendant.

 3. Victim Safety Consideration in Setting Bail and Release Conditions

 To have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for the defendant.

4. The Prevention of the Disclosure of Confidential Information

To prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, which could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family or which disclose confidential communications made in the course of medical or counseling treatment, or which are otherwise privileged or confidential by law.

 5. Refusal to be Interviewed by the Defense

To refuse an interview, deposition, or discovery request by the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interview to which the victim consents.

 6. Conference with the Prosecution and Notice of Pretrial Disposition

To reasonable notice of and to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding the arrest of the defendant if know by the prosecutor, the charges filed, the determination whether to extradite the defendant, and, upon request, to be notified of and informed before any pre-trial disposition of the case.

 7. Notice of and Presence at Public Proceedings

To reasonable notice of all public proceedings, including delinquency proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at all proceedings.

 8. Appearance at Court Proceedings and Expression of Views

To be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision, plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue.

 9. Speedy Trial and Prompt Conclusion of the Case

To a speedy trial and a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any post-judgment proceedings.

 10. Provision of Information to the Probation Department

To provide information to a probation department official conducting a pre-sentence investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and the victim’s family and any sentencing recommendations before the sentencing of the defendant.

11. Receipt of Pre-Sentence Report

To receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when available to the defendant, except for those portions made confidential by law.

 12. Information About Conviction, Sentence, Incarceration, Release and Escape

To be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the defendant, the scheduled release date of the defendant, and the release of or the escape by the defendant from custody.

 13. Restitution

 A. It is the unequivocal intention of the People of the State of California that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer.

 B. Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss.

 C. All monetary payment, monies, and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution shall be first applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim.

 14. The Prompt Return of Property

To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence.

 15. Notice of Parole Procedures and Release on Parole

To be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to provide information to the parole authority to be considered before the parole of the offender, and to be notified, upon request, of the parole or other release of the offender.

 16. Safety of Victim and Public are Factors in Parole Release

To have the safety of the victim, the victim’s family and the general public considered before any parole or other post-judgment release decision is made.

 17. Information about these 16 Rights

To be informed of the rights enumerated in paragraphs (1) through (16).  A victim, the retained attorney of a victim, a lawful representative of the victim, or the prosecuting attorney upon request of the victim, may enforce the above rights in any trial or appellate court with jurisdiction over the case a s matter of right.  The court shall act promptly on such a request.  (Cal. Const., art. 1, Section 28©(1))