CRIME VICTIMS' OMBUDSMAN OF THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
SECTION 16-3-1610. Definitions.
As used in this article:
(1) "Criminal and juvenile justice system" means circuit solicitors and members of their staffs; the Attorney General and his staff; law enforcement agencies and officers; adult and juvenile probation, parole, and correctional agencies and officers; officials responsible for victims' compensation and other services which benefit victims of crime, and state, county, and municipal victim advocacy and victim assistance personnel.
(2) "Victim assistance program" means an entity, whether governmental, corporate, nonprofit, partnership, or individual, which provides, is required by law to provide, or claims to provide services or assistance, or both to victims on an ongoing basis.
(3) "Victim" means a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, or financial harm as the result of an act by someone else, which is a crime. The term includes immediate family members of a homicide victim or of any other victim who is either incompetent or a minor and includes an intervenor.
SECTION 16-3-1620. Crime Victims' Ombudsman of the Office of the Governor.
(A) The Crime Victims' Ombudsman of the Office of the Governor is created. The Crime Victims' Ombudsman is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
(B) The Crime Victims' Ombudsman of the Office of the Governor shall:
(1) refer crime victims to the appropriate element of the criminal and juvenile justice systems or victim assistance programs, or both when services are requested by crime victims or are necessary as determined by the ombudsman;
(2) act as a liaison between elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, victim assistance programs, and victims when the need for liaison services is recognized by the ombudsman; and
(3) review and attempt to resolve complaints against elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems or victim assistance programs, or both made to the ombudsman by victims of criminal activity within the state's jurisdiction.
SECTION 16-3-1630. Ombudsman; responsibilities; authority; annual report.
Upon receipt of a written complaint that contains specific allegations and is signed by a victim of criminal activity within the state's jurisdiction, the ombudsman shall forward copies of the complaint to the person, program, and agency against whom it makes allegations, and conduct an inquiry into the allegations stated in the complaint.
In carrying out the inquiry, the ombudsman is authorized to request and receive information and documents from the complainant, elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and victim assistance programs that are pertinent to the inquiry. Following each inquiry, the ombudsman shall issue a report verbally or in writing to the complainant and the persons or agencies that are the object of the complaint and recommendations that in the ombudsman's opinion will assist all parties. The persons or agencies that are the subject of the complaint shall respond, within a reasonable time, to the ombudsman regarding actions taken, if any, as a result of the ombudsman's report and recommendations.
The ombudsman shall prepare a public annual report, not identifying individual agencies or individuals, summarizing his activity. The annual report must be submitted directly to the Governor, General Assembly, elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and victim assistance programs.
SECTION 16-3-1640. Confidentiality of information and files.
Information and files requested and received by the ombudsman are confidential and retain their confidential status at all times. Juvenile records obtained under this section may be released only in accordance with provisions of the Children's Code.
SECTION 16-3-1650. Cooperation with the criminal and juvenile justice systems and victim assistance programs.
All elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems and victim assistance programs shall cooperate with the ombudsman in carrying out the duties described in Sections 16-3-1620 and 16-3-1630.
SECTION 16-3-1660. Grounds for dismissal.
A victim's exercise of rights granted by this article is not grounds for dismissing a criminal proceeding or setting aside a conviction or sentence.
SECTION 16-3-1670. Purpose.
This article does not create a cause of action on behalf of a person against an element of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, victim assistance programs, the State, or any agency or person responsible for the enforcement of rights and provision of services set forth in this chapter.