2020 Tennessee Code
Title 40 - Criminal Procedure
Chapter 38 - Victims' Rights
Part 1 - Victims' Bill of Rights
§ 40-38-103. Rights of Crime Victims — Generally

Universal Citation: TN Code § 40-38-103 (2020)
  1. All victims of crime shall, upon their request, have the right to:
    1. Be fully informed orally, in writing or by video tape by the office of the district attorney general, acting through the appropriate victim-witness coordinator, of the following:
      1. The various steps and procedures involved in the criminal justice system;
      2. The procedure and basis for continuances in the proceedings;
      3. The procedure involved in the plea-bargaining process and how to request input into the process;
      4. The times, dates and locations of all pertinent stages in the proceedings following presentment or indictment by the grand jury;
      5. The methods by which the victim may have input into a convicted defendant's sentence, including the presentence report and the sentencing hearing;
      6. The stages in the appellate process and how to obtain information concerning appellate action that has an effect on the defendant's conviction or sentence and the date a defendant's sentence becomes final;
      7. How to obtain pertinent information relating to the possible release of an appropriate inmate, including notification of any department of correction decision permitting the inmate's release into the community or any scheduled hearing by the board of parole concerning the inmate's parole or application for executive clemency;
      8. The methods by which the victim may obtain restitution directly from the defendant and information about obtaining assistance in obtaining restitution; and
      9. The methods by which the victim may obtain a monetary award or other benefits from the criminal injuries compensation fund and information about obtaining assistance in securing the award or benefits;
    2. Whenever possible, be advised and informed of plea bargaining discussions and agreements prior to the entry of any plea agreement where the victim is a victim of violent crime involving death of a family member or serious bodily injury, speak at parole hearings, submit a victim impact statement to the courts and the board of parole and give impact testimony at court sentencing hearings;
    3. Be informed that § 41-21-240 requires the department to notify them, upon their request, at least ninety (90) days prior to the date an inmate with a sentence of two (2) years or more is scheduled to be released by reason of expiration of the inmate's sentence and be informed how the request of the department is made; and
    4. Be compensated for expenses actually and reasonably incurred as the result of traveling to and from the trial of the defendant or defendants and traveling to and from appellate, postconviction or habeas corpus proceedings resulting from the trial of the defendant or defendants alleged to have committed a compensable offense subject to title 29, chapter 13, part 1, and the availability of funds in the criminal injuries compensation fund.
  2. Upon the request of a victim of violent crime involving serious bodily injury or death of a relative, the victim shall be supplied information and a request form by the law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of the crime or the arrest of the defendant, the sheriff or other custodian of the defendant, or the victim-witness coordinator as to how the victim or relative of a victim may request and secure notification of the release from custody of an offender from a jail or detention facility prior to trial. The jailer, sheriff, or other custodian of criminal offenders shall maintain a physical or electronic record or file of the victim's request for notification and, prior to the release of an offender about whom a notification request has been made, give immediate and prompt notice of the release to the requesting victim or family member of a victim by the most direct means available, including telephone, messenger, or telegram; provided, that if the victim or family member of a victim is registered with the state's electronic victim notification system, the notice required by this section shall be communicated by the method or methods indicated by the registration in the system. Any identifying information contained in the request forms shall be confidential. For purposes of this subsection (b), “identifying information” means the name, home and work addresses, telephone numbers, email address, and social security number of the person being notified or requesting that notification be provided.
  3. In a prosecution for any criminal homicide, an appropriate photograph of the victim while alive shall be admissible evidence when offered by the district attorney general to show the general appearance and condition of the victim while alive.
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