The Office of the Attorney General has a long-standing practice of responding to victims or family members of victims in all death penalty cases being handled by the Attorney General's office. We make every effort to answer all questions or calls about pending cases to those victims or family members of victims. The Attorney General and the lawyers who litigate the death penalty cases - and all other criminal cases - are very concerned with the victims of all crimes and their families and have always made every effort to provide as much information as possible.
WHO MAY REQUEST INFORMATION AND THE SIX-MONTH UPDATE
A victim in a case where the death penalty has been imposed may submit a written request to be notified of the post-conviction (habeas corpus primarily) proceedings and to be provided with a six-month status report.
A "Victim" means:
" either the person against whom the crime was perpetrated," or
" the parent, guardian or custodian of the crime victim who is a minor or legally incapacitated."
In the event of the death of the victim, then the "victim" is defined as one of the following individuals, assuming that the individual is not either the defendant or in custody for an offense:
adult child, or
a sibling, or
NOTE: Although the law limits notification to the defined "victim" (as in all cases), the Attorney General's office intends to continue to provide as much information as possible to all family members who contact the office.
HOW THE NOTIFICATION PROCESS WORKS
LeeAnne Carruthers, a paralegal in the Capital Litigation Section of the Criminal Justice Division, is the Victim Information Coordinator and is responsible for monitoring requests and providing information. We have created a notification request form that should be completed and returned to the office at the address provided. Upon receipt of the notification request form, the name of the person requesting the information will be added to the database and a status report will be provided at that time. The office will then send out status reports to all individuals in the database approximately every six months.
In addition, either written, telephonic or e-mail notice will be given whenever possible of the filing and disposition of all collateral attacks on the conviction and death sentence which this office is defending as well as notice of the time and place of court proceedings on those cases.
The Attorney General's office has given the notification information to the local victims' assistance coordinators in the district attorneys' offices as well as the Department of Corrections, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
HISTORY BEHIND VICTIM NOTIFICATION
In the 2002 session the Georgia General Assembly passed H.B. 1070 which amended the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights by extending the right to request information to those cases in which the death penalty was imposed for the post-appeal phase of litigation being defended by the Attorney General's office.