GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2018-110
HOUSE BILL 551
AN ACT to amend the constitution of north carolina to provide better protections and safeguards to victims of crime.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Section 37 of Article I of the North Carolina Constitution reads as rewritten:
"Sec. 37. Rights of victims of crime.
(1) Basic rights. Victims of
crime, as prescribed by law, crime or acts of delinquency shall
be treated with dignity and respect by the criminal justice system.
(1a) Enumerated rights. When the crime or act of
delinquency is one against or involving the person of the victim or is equivalent
to a felony property crime, the victim is entitled to the following
(a) The right
by law to be informed of and to be present at upon request to reasonable,
accurate, and timely notice of court proceedings of the accused.
(a1) The right upon request to be present at court proceedings of the accused.
(b) The right to be reasonably
sentencing of the accused in a manner prescribed by law, and at
other times as prescribed by law or deemed appropriate by the court.any
court proceeding involving the plea, conviction, adjudication, sentencing, or
release of the accused.
(c) The right
prescribed by law to receive restitution.restitution in a
reasonably timely manner, when ordered by the court.
(d) The right
by law to be given information about the crime,crime or act of
delinquency, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims,
and the availability of services for victims.
(e) The right
prescribed by law upon request to receive information about the conviction
conviction, adjudication, or final disposition and sentence of the
(f) The right
prescribed by law upon request to receive notification of escape,
release, proposed parole or pardon of the accused, or notice of a reprieve or
commutation of the accused's sentence.
(g) The right
prescribed by law to present their the victim's views and
concerns to the Governor or agency considering any action that could result in
the release of the accused, prior to such action becoming effective.
(h) The right
by law to reasonably confer with the prosecution.
(1b) Enforcement of rights. Except as otherwise provided herein, the General Assembly shall further provide, by general law, the procedure whereby a victim may assert the rights provided in this section. The victim or, if the victim is a minor, is legally incapacitated, or deceased, a family member, guardian, or legal custodian may assert the rights provided in this section. The procedure shall be by motion to the court of jurisdiction within the same criminal or juvenile proceeding giving rise to the rights. The victim, family member, guardian, or legal custodian have the right to counsel at this hearing but do not have the right to counsel provided by the State. If the matter involves an allegation that the district attorney failed to comply with the rights of a victim when obligated to so do by law, the victim must first afford the district attorney with jurisdiction over the criminal action an opportunity to resolve any issue in a timely manner.
(2) No money damages; other
Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a claim for money damages
damages, or any cause of action, against the State, a county, a
municipality, or any of the agencies, instrumentalities, or officers and employees
thereof. The General Assembly may provide for other remedies to ensure
adequate enforcement of this section.
(3) No ground for relief in criminal case. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service provided under this section may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case, an inmate, or any other accused as a ground for relief in any trial, appeal, postconviction litigation, habeas corpus, civil action, or any similar criminal or civil proceeding. Nothing in this section shall be construed to provide grounds for a victim (i) to appeal any decision made in a criminal or juvenile proceeding; (ii) to challenge any verdict, sentence, or adjudication; (iii) to participate as a party in any proceeding; or (iv) to obtain confidential juvenile records.
(4) No restriction of authority. Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the power of the district attorney, or the inherent authority of the court.
(5) Implementation. The General Assembly may prescribe general laws to further define and implement this section."
SECTION 2. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the election in November 2018, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both, may be used in accordance with Chapter 163A of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:
"[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST
Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights."
SECTION 3. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State, who shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office. The amendment becomes effective August 31, 2019.
SECTION 4. Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 27th day of June, 2018.
s/ Bill Rabon
Presiding Officer of the Senate
s/ Tim Moore
Speaker of the House of Representatives