Is the language in CACR 22 too long to be added to the constitution?
No. The language is not too long for a variety of reasons. First, the court needs specificity and direction in order to protect victims’ rights. Aspirational language, such as “[a] victim of crime has the right to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity, and privacy” does not provide any guidance to the courts, and instead will certainly lead to years of litigation while courts decide what actual rights victims are afforded in those twenty-one words. Second, there are longer articles in the New Hampshire Constitution already. Lastly, the accused and convicted have extensive rights enumerated in the New Hampshire Constitution. These rights are clearly outlined and provide the courts with the direction needed to enforce those rights. Victims’ rights should be equally clear in our constitution to ensure courts have direction on how to balance the rights of defendants and those accused with the rights of victims, should they come into conflict with one another.