Communicating with Victims of Crimes: The Minefield of Victim Communications.

Posted over 3 years ago. Applies to Louisiana, 2 helpful votes

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Communicating with victims over email, social networking and/or telephone

Never communicate with a victim of a crime that you are under investigation of or have been formally charged with electronically and/or over a phone. Police agencies have now started utilizing victims in communicating with alleged suspects or defendants of crimes. Police agencies will sometimes have victims contact you, under their direction, in an effort to get you to make admissions, to make confessions, or to make statements that will be used against you at a later time. These communications are particularly dangerous because you might be off your guard and unaware that the police might be also listening or recording your statements. These communications might violate state law and/or your civil rights, but courts are not always inclined to suppress these conversations and communications. If contacted, be polite but be careful. Talk to an attorney or advise the victim to talk to you through your attorney. Lastly, never text, email or electronically communicate.

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Victim's Rights Statutes: Communication Can't Be Coercive or Threatening

Louisiana has enacted laws that protect a victims and their rights. These laws make it a crime to threaten a victim, harass a victim, or to communicate with a victim against their will. NEVER threaten a victim! It is a crime and will only make matters worse. Often individuals accused of crimes want to build a bridge of communication with victims in an effort to mitigate or convince victims not to pursue prosecution. Always use your attorney to bridge communication. If a victim doesn't want to talk to you, then do not try to talk to them. Even the best of intentions might cause you to be charged with additional crimes. Always try to communicate through your attorney.

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Reconciling with Victims that are Spouses and/or in Domestic Relationships

Sometimes the victim of a crime might be a spouse and/or in a relationship with the accused. Just as relationships sometimes come to an end, they also sometimes reconcile and mend. Parties need to be very careful to be mindful that just because the parties reconcile doesn't mean that restraining orders or other court orders can be ignored. If there is reconciliation the court must still be informed so that orders can be vacated or monitored. A restraining order is still a court order even in the face of the parties reconciling.

Additional Resources

See La. R.S. 46: 1844 et seq.

Louisiana Law Regarding Victims and Their Rights

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