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Rutgers Law Journal


In State v. Casey, the Supreme Court of Utah was presented with questions regarding a victim's right to be heard at a change of plea hearing and standing to appeal an adverse ruling in relation to his right to be heard, as well as the appropriate form of notification and invocation of such rights. By relying heavily on the plain language of the Victims' Rights Amendment of the Utah Constitution, the Utah Victims' Rights Act and the Utah Rights of Crime Victims Act, the court held that the victim: "(1) had the right to appeal the district court's rulings related to his right to be heard, (2) had the right to be heard upon request at defendant's change of plea hearing, and (3) properly invoked his right to be heard by informing the prosecutor he wished to speak."

This Comment focuses on the court's analysis of Utah's victims' rights statutes as well as the Utah Constitution in determining what rights, if any, a victim has to be heard at "important criminal justice hearings." In addition, this Comment will explore trends in victims' rights legislation as well as the prosecutorial implications of a victim's right to be notified of, and heard at, the important hearings.

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