Groundbreaking decision protects the victim in habeas corpus proceedings

“It’s clear in this Court’s view that a victim of crime is entitled to a certain amount of protection from the person who has victimized her.”

So wrote Connecticut Judge Stanley Fuger in a decision barring a habeas corpus petitioner from issuing a subpoena for the victim of his sexual assault without first  proving to the court that the victim’s testimony is relevant to the claims before the court. Victim Rights Center of Connecticut represents the victim in the case, and filed a motion asking for the protection that the judge ordered.

We are unaware of any other decision of its kind in the country, although it seems likely that there must be some unpublished ones.

Judge Fuger stood up squarely for the common-law and due process rights of a victim to be free from invasions of her privacy. “It is true that if a subpoena is issued, the victim in that matter can, of court, file a motion to quash; but having already been the victim of a sexual assault,” the judge wrote, “. . . receiving a subpoena to testify in a court proceeding involving the victimizer can be,m simply in and of itself, an anxiety-producing situation.” The decision specifically recognized “the interests of the victim in being allowed to put this crime and trama associated with being the victim of that crime behind her without having to be reminded, bothered, harassed . . . through further questioning.”

The decision and Victim Rights Center’s motion

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