Our Reason For Being
Mission Statement
Program Goals


OUR REASON FOR BEING

The case that spurred the formation of Justice for Homicide Victims.

Los Angeles, 1983

A 26 year-old man strangled beautiful, 22 year-old Dominique Dunne to death. This is a particularly ugly way to die. It takes time. In this case four minutes for brain death. There was a witness to this murder who did nothing to save her.

On the day of the trial the murderer appeared in court clutching a bible. He continued to appear with it in prominent view throughout the trial. A little obvious?

Not at all. The jury bought it. They heard the case and went out and came back with a verdict of voluntary manslaughter.

Sentence: Six years - eligible for release in three.

This was not an isolated case; it happened all the time. It particularly happened in California. For some reason when a murder is committed and the killer apprehended and brought to trial and the judicial process cranked up and slowly and tediously begins to grind away, several things are gradually made clear:

First, the victim is forgotten.

Second, the victim's family becomes totally beside the point.

Third, the system is so overly concerned about the right of the accused that the jury is never allowed to hear the facts. If the accused is a gang member, that is inadmissable. If he has a history of assaults or murders, that is inadmissable. The jury is never allowed to hear about the past.

The results are verdicts and sentences that would be more suitable for petty theft than murder. Judges are not accountable for these sentences. Meanwhile the victim is still dead and the victims family becomes more and more beside the point. Something has to be done about this.

JHV exists for that reason. We are a group made up of people who have suffered the loss of a loved-one -- child, parent, mate, brother, sister -- through murder; as well as professionals and others who share our views and concern.

These are people who have grieved and mourned - but have come to realize that the tears do nothing to sublimate a sense of outrage and conviction to see justice done.

It's too bad an oragnization like this has to exist. We recognize the fact that nothing will ever bring our children or loved-ones back. They are gone for good. The idea is to try to save some lives in the future.
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MISSION STATEMENT

To be the champion of the legal rights of survivors of homicide victims by providing them information about victim rights in all aspects of the criminal justice system.

Specific:

Provide support and friendship to distressed persons who experienced the homicide of a family member.

Foster survivors physical and emotional health.

Provide contact with similarly bereaved family members or other persons.

Provide public awareness and education of victim rights and the abuse or noncompliance of thee rights in all areas of the criminal justice system.

Provide support of victims who fight for their rights.

Mental Health
Social Work
Community Services
Law Enforcement
Criminal Justice
Education
Medicine
Religion
Law
Funeral Services and related matters
Educate society-at-large to the problems faced by the survivors of homicide victims and foster awareness of such problems

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PROGRAM GOALS

Justice For Homicide Victims (JHV), a non-profit organization. We provide support in dealing with the pain and suffering associated with the homicide of a loved one when the victims’ survivors are usually totally misunderstood by their friends and relatives. We assist homicide victim survivors by providing them with their rights under current laws and provide support of victims who fight for their rights.

Education of the public as to the real truth about our criminal justice system. When the people of this country understand that the victim has no legal standing whatsoever or representation in a criminal trial, whereas the accused is represented, they will be moved to change our laws.

When a person realizes that if he or she is raped, shot or left for dead, as a victim you may not even have the right to testify at the trial. If they are murdered they will probably put the victim on trial and no one has the duty or the right to represent them. When the accused is sentenced, the sentence pronounced by the judge is not true as each criminal becomes eligible for parole in one-half to one-third of the length of the sentence.

Help in coping with a complex legal system and law enforcement officials, providing an understanding of their role in the criminal justice system.

Counseling and referrals to appropriate agencies set up by the state for various forms of assistance.

Knowledgeable advice and involvement in the arraignment, preliminary hearing and trial of the accused, with members attending sessions whenever possible.
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