Jeffrey Epstein

The Eleventh Circuit Rules Against Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Abuse Victims' Efforts to Rescind His Secret Plea Deal

The en banc ruling calls the sordid deal a "national disgrace" but concludes the courts are powerless to enforce crime victims' rights in pre-charging situations--a disturbing ruling that I hope will be quickly overturned.

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Yesterday the Eleventh Circuit en banc ruled 7-4 that the Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA) does not allow Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking victims to proceed in court to enforce their CVRA rights. The Circuit assumed that federal prosecutors had violated the victims' CVRA right to confer about the Epstein non-prosecution agreement. But even proceeding on that assumption, the majority decided that Congress did not intend to allow victims to proceed in court to enforce their rights before charges are filed. This disturbing decision plainly thwarts Congress's intent to provide enforceable rights to crime victims throughout the criminal justice process.  On behalf of our client, Ms. Courtney Wild, my co-counsel Brad Edwards and I plan to seek review in the Supreme Court and, if unsuccessful there, will ask Congress to overturn the unfortunate and incorrect ruling as swiftly as possible.

I have previously blogged about Epstein's victims' challenge to the sweetheart plea deal he orchestrated, which prevents any federal prosecution in the Southern District of Florida for the countless federal sex offenses he and his co-conspirators committed. You can read some of my earlier posts here, here, and here. As has been established through more than a decade of litigation, federal prosecutors arranged a secret non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, concealing what they were doing from his sex abuse victims. In 2008, after the deal was consummated, Edwards and I challenged it as having been concluded in violation of the crime victims' CVRA rights, notably their right to reasonably confer with prosecutors.

After eleven years of hard-fought litigation(!), in February 2019 the federal district court judge  presiding over the challenge agreed with us that the prosecutors had violated Epstein's victims' CVRA rights by deliberately concealing what they were doing from the victims. But in September 2019, after Epstein's arrest and death from apparent suicide in jail, the district judge dismissed our case as moot. We went to the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that the victims' challenge to the deal was not moot because the agreement conferred immunity from prosecution in the Southern District of Florida to Epstein's co-conspirators. In April 2020, an Eleventh Circuit panel ruled 2-1 against us, but refused to reach the issue of whether the case was moot. Instead, the panel held that the CVRA did not give crime victims any rights before criminal charges are filed.

Edwards and I then sought review of the panel ruling by Eleventh Circuit en banc, supported by an amicus brief from Senator Dianne Feinstein and former Senators Jon Kyl and Orrin Hatch–three of the CVRA's key co-sponsors when Congress passed the Act in 2004.  The Eleventh Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc, and I argued the matter to the full Circuit in December 2020.

Yesterday the Circuit ruled 7-4 against Epstein's victims, but on different grounds than the earlier panel opinion. In a 53-page decision written by Judge Newsom, the Circuit concluded that when Congress enacted the CVRA, it had somehow failed to include a provision  giving crime victims a "private right of action authorizing crime victims to seek judicial enforcement of CVRA rights outside the confines of a preexisting proceeding." The Circuit conceded that the facts of the case are "beyond scandalous—they tell a tale of national disgrace." And the Circuit acknowledged that it had "the profoundest sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein's hands, only to be left in the dark—and, so it seems, affirmatively misled—by government attorneys." Nonetheless, the Circuit concluded that we "simply cannot discern a clear expression of congressional intent to authorize the sort of stand-alone civil action that Ms. Wild filed here."

The Circuit's decision is wrong at so many levels that it is hard to see the precedent lasting long. We plan to seek certiorari in the Supreme Court, which hopefully will rapidly undo this disturbing ruling with broad implications. And if the Supreme Court declines to review the case, Congress will hopefully move rapidly to approve the proposed Courtney Wild Crime Victims' Rights Reform Act of 2019, which would directly overrule the Circuit's conclusion.

One immediately glaring point about the majority's decision, as cogently explained in Judge Branch's dissenting opinion, is that the decision refused to decide the first of the two questions that the Circuit had agreed to rehear en banc.  The Court had asked for briefing and argument on two questions:

1. Whether the [CVRA] . . . grants a crime victim any statutory rights that apply before the filing of a formal criminal charge by the government prosecutor?
2. If a crime victim has statutory rights under the CVRA that apply pre-charge, does the CVRA also grant a crime victim a statutory remedy to enforce a violation of their statutory rights?

Yet, in its 53 page ruling, the majority ducked the first issue. Presumably the reason for obscuring the answer to this initial question is that the CVRA's text and structure make plain that Congress intended to give to crime victims rights before charges are filed. Congress gave victims "[t]he reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case" and also "[t]he right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy." Neither of these rights are textually limited to post-charging situations.  And in contrast, several of the other rights Congress provided in the CVRA are specifically limited to cases that have been filed in court, such as the victim's right "to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding."

And, indeed, in another section of the CVRA, Congress commanded that the Justice Department and "other departments and agencies of the United States engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime shall make their best efforts to see that crime victims are . . . accorded[] the rights described in subsection (a)." Congress would have had no reason to mandate that federal agencies involved in crime "detection" or "investigation" ensure that crime victims are accorded their CVRA rights if those rights did not exist "pre-charge." Rather, as Judge Branch pointed out, "the use of disjunctive wording in subsection (c)—the 'or'—indicates agencies that fit either description must comply, even though in some circumstances the investigatory and prosecution phases may overlap."

The majority's conclusion that Congress had failed to authorize victims to seek enforcement of their rights even before charges are filed also founders on another provision in the CVRA. Section 3771(d)(3) provides that "if no prosecution is underway," crime victims can assert the rights described in the CVRA "in the district court in which a defendant is being prosecuted for the crime or, in the district court in the district in which the crime occurred." In this case, because no federal prosecution of Epstein was "underway" after his secret non-prosecution agreement, Ms. Wild was entitled to pursue relief "in the district court in which the crime occurred"–i.e., in the Southern District of Florida where Epstein sexually abused her.

Judge Branch also eviscerates the majority's conclusion that there is no "rights creating" language in the CVRA. As she explains, Congress's opening command in the CVRA is that "[a] crime victim has the following rights," and the Act goes on to list "[t]he reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case," and "[t]he right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy." And Congress also provided that victim "may assert" the rights described in the CVRA. Indeed, Congress allowed that assertion of rights even where "no prosecution is underway." Congress then directed that the district court "shall take up and decide any motion asserting a victim's right."

Fixating on the word "motion," the majority believes that the word presupposes an on-going criminal proceeding. But this reading is contrary to the way the term "motion" is used in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. For example, Rule 41(g) establishes the procedures governing searches during investigations, explicitly permitting a third party to file a "motion" to enforce her rights before a criminal prosecution is formally commenced; and under Rule 17(c)(2), a witness may file a "motion" to quash a grand-jury subpoena even before an indictment is handed down. The majority says that these examples fails to establish that the term "motion" is commonly used to describe a vehicle for initiating enforcement of rights. But the majority overlooks the obvious point that both of the examples involve third-parties attempting to assert rights in criminal cases–which is exactly the situation that the CVRA involves.

The straightforward conclusion that crime victims have rights before charges are filed has previously been reached by the only other Circuit to address this issue. In a case I argued before the Fifth Circuit–In re Dean, 527 F.3d 391 (5th Cir. 2008)–that Circuit concluded that "'[t]here are clearly rights under the CVRA that apply before any prosecution is underway.' . . . includ[ing] the CVRA's establishment of victims' 'reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government.'" This clear split between yesterday's Eleventh Circuit ruling and the earlier 5th Circuit ruling will be one of the issues that we plan to present to the Supreme Court.

In the 185 pages of concurring and dissenting opinions yesterday, many other points are discussed. Perhaps one of the most powerful is Judge Hull's cogent explanation that the majority's decision

exacerbates disparities between wealthy defendants and those who cannot afford to hire well-connected and experienced attorneys during the pre-charge period. Most would-be defendants lack resources and usually have no counsel during this pre-charge period. Consequently, they do not have the pre-charge opportunity to negotiate the kind of extremely favorable deal that Epstein received. This sort of two-tiered justice system—one in which wealthy defendants hire experienced counsel to negotiate plea deals in secret and with no victim input—offends basic fairness and exacerbates the unequal playing field for poor and wealthy criminal defendants.

The majority's decision produces so many oddities and disparities that its author–Judge Newsom–felt compelled to write an apologia about his own ruling.  Judge Newsom observed that he had reluctantly written the first panel decision and was now "filled with the same sense of sorrow." He agreed that the prosecutors' deliberate concealment of their agreement with Epstein from his victims was "[s]hameful all the way around" and that "[t]he whole thing makes me sick." He also explained that, in handing down the ruling, "my heart breaks" for Ms. Wild and the other Epstein victims. But while this reaction is understandable, what is hard to understand is why Judge Newsom and his colleagues concluded that this unsettling result is what Congress intended in passing the CVRA. In creating "rights" for crime victims–in the Crime Victims Rights Act–Congress did not want victims like Ms. Wild to be shut out of the court process. Judge Newsom did not need to break the hearts of Epstein's victim–all he needed to do was to enforce the law as Congress had written it.

For further reading on the issue of crime victims' rights in pre-charging situations, you can read my two law review articles on the subject here and here.

Yesterday's result is so palpably wrong on so many levels that I hope and expect that the Supreme Court or Congress will rapidly overrule it.

NEXT: Pharma Co. Demands Preliminary Injunction to Take Down Anesthesiology Journal Articles

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  1. The Constitution trumps statutes. The enforceability of plea deals implicates several constitutional rights, and is frankly the least we can do for defendants, who are overcharged, over-punished, and hit with ridiculous trial penalties by careerist prosecutors who don’t care about the lives they ruin.

    It’s like what Gorsuch says about enforcing Indian treaties- we left them with no choice but to agree, so it adds insult to injury to then not adhere to our promises.

    Victim’s rights, in contrast, is a product of statutes produced by a political system that treats criminal defendants as subhuman. It isn’t that victims have no rights, but they are properly subordinate in our system to basic fairness to defendants.

    I celebrate Prof. Cassell’s loss, even though the Epstein plea deal was scummy and corrupt. The same rule applies to non-scummy plea deals too.

    1. The so-called “Constitution” is also a product of that same political system, but a far more grotesque and bastardized one emanating from a small group of unelected people with lifetime appointments. The “Constitution” has no meaning in practice.

      I appreciate that your post contains a substantive argument to support your position, and I have nothing to detract from that.

      1. ….but the use of “Constitution” today, to me, is often like a magic “c” word used to immediately claim both the legal and moral high ground.

        It is an invocation of secret esoteric knowledge of some mystical morality in support of political objectives.

        1. It’s better than any of the alternatives.

          Including rule by ML’s hot takes on what America should be.

          1. “It’s better than any of the alternatives.”

            Sorry, what is better than its alternatives?

            1. Having the constitution constrain governmental action via judicial review by appointed judges.

              You don’t like what the judges have said. But a system where you win because you are sure you’re right is not a good one.

                1. You call the system gross and bastardized, but you do not offer a better system, only outcomes that agree with you more.

                  1. The Constitution does not “constrain governmental action,” as you claim. It’s just a piece of paper, or a collection of words.

                    Neither does it prescribe any standards or constraints for the government to voluntarily impose upon itself, because the Constitution has no static meaning. (Of course, even if it did, rulers rarely voluntarily impose constraints on themselves).

                    It is true that the judicial government sometimes constrains (or enables) itself or the legislative or executive departments, all according to its will and discretion. It does so by invocation of the esoteric and mystical.

                    My comment here is actually concerned with the accurate description of things, rather than saying this or that system would be better. You are of course aware of my opinion, stated elsewhere, that we ought to confine the jurisdictions of our Platonic Guardians to smaller territories, such that people would have some semblance of self-government within their locales.

                    1. Don’t pretend your personal opinions are any kind of objective description to which one can apply a standard of accuracy. ‘Grotesque and bastardized’ is not a statement with any accuracy value, it is your feelz.

                      We have a system. Yeah, humans don’t need to follow any system, if you ignore all history and sociology.
                      You attack our system because it’s resulted in a governmental structure not to your liking. And you back it up with…just righteousness.
                      Not something we are currently lacking around here.

                    2. Sometimes, far from perfect is the best you can do.

                      “Bastardized” means “lower in quality or value than the original form, typically as a result of the addition of new elements.”

                      Drastically different than the original form, would be an objective and accurate description of our constitutional regime. As is the objective description that it emanates from unelected judges, rather than any controlling text which does not exist.

                      If you can admit that, I’ll acknowledge that the “lower in value” part is editorializing. As far as my opinions, I back them up with far more reasoning than you ever do.

          2. Invocation of the Constitution as esoteric mystical morality is better than its alternatives?

            I’m listening. What are the alternatives to it?

            1. Esoteric?
              I mean, I hate Kennedy opinions as well, but I don’t think this was very esoteric.

    2. Dilan —

      “we left them with no choice to agree”

      Actually, how does your analysis apply specifically to the immunization of all unknown “co-conspirators” of a party to a plea agreement that may exist — even though those co-conspirators are unknown and unidentified, they are not a party to the agreement, have not been subjected to any process, and the very question of their existence and number is unknown?

      Your comment is inapt.

      1. My comment applies to why we can’t allow Congress to chip away at the rights of plea bargaining through a Victim’s Rights Statutes.

        This was a crappy plea deal. But the government agreed to it. If the government actually made one deal with a small Indian tribe where the tribe got the better end of the deal, that wouldn’t justify a rule chipping away at the enforceability of our promises to Indians.

        1. Congress can and has “chipped away at the enforceability of our promises to Indians”.

          Congress can grant victim’s rights too. The question is if it did so at the indictment or investigation stage.

          1. Congress can and has done that, but it’s wrong. And in the case of criminal defendants, they have explicit constitutional protections that Indian tribes don’t have.

            1. There is no constitutional right to a plea bargain.

        2. I understand. But what about as a plea deal pertains to unknown, unidentified, and wholly theoretical third parties? Can it be chipped away at there?

          What if a plea agreement promises delivery of the moon with free 2-day shipping?

          1. No. If the government agrees to a plea deal, that’s binding unless the defendant consents to a renegotiation.

            We stick defendants with all sorts of unjust sentences by refusing to allow them out of the promises they make in plea deals. It works the same way for the government.

            1. But defendants generally can’t be stuck with agreements that are illegal, and it seems plausible to me that they can’t require the government to honor agreements that it lacked the legal authority to make. Again, I’m skeptical on the merits that such is the case here, but I don’t see any reason why Congress couldn’t make it so if it were so inclined — and the loss here certainly makes it more likely that people like Prof. Cassell are going to advocate for something along those lines.

              1. Out of curiosity, why are you skeptical the government didn’t have the legal authority to make this deal? It seems like a clear violation of CVRA to non-lawyerly eyes.

            2. I disagree. These unknown, theoretical co-conspirators are not parties to the agreement, nor are they appropriate third party beneficiaries. So the agreement should not be binding in this respect.

    3. The other thing not being mentioned here is that victims always have the right of civil suits for damages.

      And what, exactly, does Ms. Wild think that meeting with the prosecutor would have accomplished. So she gets invited into someone’s office and he says “I ain’t gonna do anything, now please leave my office — and if you don’t, I’ll have you arrested.”

      And as this is a federal office and he a federal official, if she didn’t leave, she’d be looking at life in prison like the folks who took selfies in the Capitol on January 6th.

      Furthermore, what would knowing that he was going to make a corrupt plea deal accomplish? I presume that Epstein’s plea deal was public information for anyone who wanted to bother to look — how did the reporter who broke this story find it???

      So other than hoping to get an even sweeter deal in the inevitable subsequent civil suit against Epstein’s estate, what does this attorney hope to gain out of this?!?!?

      1. Let’s take a very real Federal case — the non-prosecution of one AJ Baker, the adult son of MA Governor Charlie Baker. https://time.com/5320294/aj-baker-sexual-misconduct-allegations/

        Nearly three years ago, AJ Baker was on a flight from DC to Boston and (over NY State) allegedly groped the female passenger sitting next to him. This was witnessed, crew intervened, and the pilot was going to divert to NY but realized he was closer to Logan so continued to his destination. Mass state troopers (the police authority at Logan due to a technicality in MA law) interviewed AJ Baker and then handed the matter off to the US Attorney — the MSP answer to Baker’s father, the Governor.

        Everyone knows that the Governor’s son hasn’t been prosecuted — every month or so Howie Carr writes another editorial about how “Gropy” Baker’s case has been broomed. So what would the victim being told this accomplish???

    4. Requiring the prosecutors to reasonably consult with victims and keep them informed about the case doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. Based on the current posture of things I’m skeptical of the merits of the claims for relief here (especially rescission of the non-prosecution agreement), but I think the court’s resolution of the threshold question of whether a claim can be brought before charges are filed is awfully difficult to square with the statutory text.

      1. OK, take Bernie Madoff.

        Can you imagine the logistical nightmare of having to reasonably consult with *all* of his victims? They’d still be doing it — he’d never have been convicted because of the logistics….

        And how is rescission of a non-prosecution agreement different from the rescission of an immunity agreement? Prosecutors routinely offer immunity (and plea deals) in exchange for testimony against others — should every one of those be subject to a victim’s referendum?

        This isn’t workable….

        1. And what about promissory estoppel?

          1. What about it?

        2. Can you imagine the logistical nightmare of having to reasonably consult with *all* of his victims? They’d still be doing it — he’d never have been convicted because of the logistics….

          Why, it’s almost like Congress anticipated that possibility and provided for it in the act!

          In a case where the court finds that the number of crime victims makes it impracticable to accord all of the crime victims the rights described in subsection (a), the court shall fashion a reasonable procedure to give effect to this chapter that does not unduly complicate or prolong the proceedings.

          18 U.S.C. § 3771(d)(2). Note, of course, that since Madoff was in fact formally charged, there’s no actual question that the victims have the right to seek enforcement of their rights against the government in court.

      2. I don’t think the statutory text can constitutionally be applied to call into question a completed plea deal. The reliance interests of the defendant are constitutionally protected; the victims’ “rights” aren’t.

        1. I’m not sure that I agree that the constitution would forbid allowing the victim to ask to have an illegal plea agreement rescinded, but I tend to agree that the current statutory text doesn’t authorize it. But that’s not the question the panel resolved. (Indeed, I’m not sure the question that the panel resolved could ever actually arise in the case of an actual plea agreement, since by definition that would mean that the defendant had actually been charged.)

  2. I applaud Professor Cassell’s incredible long-running efforts in this case.

    “after Epstein’s arrest and death from apparent suicide in jail, the district judge dismissed our case as moot. We went to the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that the victims’ challenge to the deal was not moot because the agreement conferred immunity from prosecution in the Southern District of Florida to Epstein’s co-conspirators. ”

    How convenient for Epstein’s co-conspirators, who obviously remain mostly unidentified, that he is now dead.

    Please can someone, anyone, tell me that there has been or will be investigative follow up on this story? Acosta, who is the prosecutor that made the deal with Epstein, says he was prosecuting as normal when someone pulled rank on him and said that Epstein “belongs to intelligence” and to “back off.” Where are the reporters asking about this? What are they doing instead? A futile query I am sure. A “national disgrace” indeed, but what isn’t these days?

    1. It doesn’t matter you’ll never find out from any so called reporters who work for major media corporations in bed with democrats. If it’s actually true Epstein was connected with such powerful people and intelligence services they have buried it all. You’ll have better luck finding Hoffa.

      1. This would be the same major media that spent most of 2016 talking about nothing but Hillary Clinton’s emails? Get a grip.

      2. There’s pretty decent photographic evidence that “Epstein was actually connected with such powerful people” … one of the most prominent being Donald J. Trump.

        1. Of course they were photographed (and filmed) together. You need to understand that they are in a certain small category of people. All of them rub elbows with everyone else in the category. In that sense they are all “connected” with each other. That doesn’t tell you much of anything. More informative would be, who flew to Epstein’s island on Epstein’s plane and how many times.

          1. Trump was on that plane a bunch of times, what are you getting at?

            1. “bunch”

              A lie.

              “Flight logs list Donald Trump on a January 1997 flight on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet from Palm Beach, Florida, to Newark, New Jersey.”

              https://www.businessinsider.com.au/donald-trump-jeffrey-epstein-flight-logs-unsealed-2019-8

              1. Epstein’s brother testified otherwise.

                1. Was it signed, “Epstein’s brother”?

        2. “one of the most prominent being Donald J. Trump”

          You spelled “Bill Clinton” incorrectly.

          Clinton went on numerous trips with Epstein, including one with NO secret service aboard to SE Asia.

          https://meaww.com/bill-clinton-flew-26-times-on-jeffrey-epstein-lolita-express-fitted-with-beds-orgy-island-jet-plane

          Trump once to Newark. Trump kicked Epstein out of Mar Largo

          1. The President of the United States, Bill Clinton, flying to Southeast Asia with an underage sex trafficker, who we have evidence and reason to believe engages in such activity for the specific purpose of blackmail?

            What could go wrong?????

            1. Wel, he was an ex-president at the time. Buy his wife was still an active senior figure. So the blackmail point still stands.

      3. As I recall it was a journalist working for an MSM newspaper that broke the story about Epstein’s lenient plea deal and blew all this up.

    2. The case IS moot as the perp is dead — cases don’t get any mooter than that.

      And if it is true that Epstein “belonged to intelligence”, not meeting with Ms. Wild may well have saved her life.

      Does anyone remember the Church Commission???

    3. “How convenient for Epstein’s co-conspirators, who obviously remain mostly unidentified, that he is now dead.”

      Exactly what is preventing Ms. Wild from identifying them?!?!?

  3. You obviously know more about this than just about anybody, so I’m not trying to be the typical internet-commenter-arguer. But I was persuaded by Tjoflat’s concurrence and was very un-unconvinced by Branch’s response to his separation-of-powers argument. It seems wholly un-credible to me to think that a civil action filed by a victim wouldn’t affect prosecutorial discretion. After all, in this very case, the victim sought rescission of the NPI.

    In a more garden-variety case, it seems to me that prosecutors would just roll over and talk to anyone claiming to be a victim so you don’t get dragged into court to try to argue otherwise. If a prosecutor disagrees that a crime has been committed or disagrees that an individual is a “victim,” then things start to get messy very fast. Branch just says that’s not a problem in *this* case, where it’s obvious that a crime was committed and obvious who the victims were. But it’s easy to imagine scenarios in which it’s not so obvious.

    What am I missing?

  4. How are there “victims” before there are “charges”?

    1. You can be shot dead before the police are aware of it, no?

    2. Good point. Before there are charges they are only “accusers.” To call them “victims” presupposes guilt, in violation of the constitutional presumption of innocence.

      1. But even after charges calling them a victim presupposes guilt. Although in some cases it would obviously make no sense not to call someone a victim. If someone got shot but there is an identity question of who the shooter is it’s not like the person isn’t a shooting victim even if a particular defendant is innocent of the charge..

        1. “But even after charges calling them a victim presupposes guilt.”

          How do you mean? A person can be a “victim” without presupposing the guilt of any particular person.

          I’m sure we can conjure up edge cases where the person found in a car near the seashore, shot in the back of the head, with a gun left in the car but the cannoli taken, might have really been shot in self-defense.

          But most of the time there’s no issue with calling that person a “murder victim”. We assume he was murdered, and that status does not imply that any particular person is the murder.

          1. Right that’s what I’m saying. Calling certain people victims, when there is a question of whether some act actually happened or not, does sort of presuppose guilt.

        2. People have been known to accidentally shoot themselves…

    3. I assume this is rhetorical, since the common use of the word “victim” applies when a person is the, well, “victim” of a crime, and does not depends on if/when the gov’t manages to charge someone.

      But that’s not the Q the court answered. It’s whether such a victim has a remedy.

      And even if a court were to conclude that there should be some remedy, whether that remedy could constitutionally include rescission of a guilty plea is not clear to me.

    4. The style guide in Massachusetts recommends “complainant” in interlocutory matters and “victim” in appeals from a guilty verdict.

  5. “In creating “rights” for crime victims–in the Crime Victims Rights Act–Congress did not want victims like Ms. Wild to be shut out of the court process.”

    1. I am reminded of FERPA, which also lacks a right of private action.

  6. “In creating “rights” for crime victims–in the Crime Victims Rights Act–Congress did not want victims like Ms. Wild to be shut out of the court process.” Dratted lack of edit function. Anyways, poor choice of words, since that’s precisely the government’s argument – absent “court process”, there’s no “court process” to be “shut out of”.

  7. Mr. Cassell is a prominent advocate of victim whining, and, of course of lawyer representation of such victims. He is not an advocate to prevent crime victimization in the first place, by the incapacitation of criminals. That is just worthless lawyer rent seeking. Jobs for lawyers is the real agenda.

    That being said, a documentary about these fake victims indicated that most refused to cooperate with the hit propaganda piece. Reason? They greatly benefited from the maturation experiences, from the networking with rich people, from scholarships to universities they got, and the many other considerations they received.

    Not real victims. Fake, disgruntled feminists trying to score propaganda points and unjustly enriching themselves. In the absence of physical coercion, if you are offended, and not a whore, you walk out. If you stay or return, you are a prostitute, and dismissed.

  8. The two things that no one is willing to say about Epstein’s purported “victims” are that (a) exactly why did they think he was willing to “wine & dine” them and (b) exactly what did they do that they hadn’t already dne before with boys their own ages?

    The fact that what Epstein did was both wrong and criminal does not inherently mean that his co-conspirators. Had they been a few years older, we’d be calling them “escorts” or perhaps “prostitutes” — it’s only because of a technicality regarding the age which a woman had to be to become married without her father’s permission. That’s what “age of consent” is…

    Which goes back to the other presumption that premarital sex does not occur and that these girls were all virgins. That, I highly doubt — so what, exactly, are we protecting them from?

    As I look out the window at the inch or so of wet snow on the ground today (gotta love this “global warming”), I wouldn’t mind being on the beach on “Orgy Island” this afternoon — yet neither you nor I are going to have someone fly me there for free. I can’t help but think that these girls knew that they weren’t going there for free, either.

    And as for them being “children”, most state let them drive 3 ton SUVs, which is a pretty damn adult thing in my book…

    1. The fact that what Epstein did was both wrong and criminal does not inherently mean that his co-conspirators were victims.

      It’s like when high school kids buy alcohol — while it is illegal to sell it to them, that doesn’t make them “victims” — they, too, are committing a crime, and one which is often prosecuted.

  9. As an evil prosecutor I have an evil plan. I will negotiate a plea with a cooperating defendant but not inform the victims as fully as CVRA requires. After obtaining the testimony I will apologize to the victims, be sued, and have no choice but to revoke the deal and try the defendant on the original charges.

    I have heard of a deal being revoked because the court did not have jurisdiction, but when the court and prosecutor have actual authority to make a deal it’s really sleazy not to follow through.

    1. If you wanted to take the case to court in the first place, isn’t it easier to just do that rather than concoct an evil plan to get the same result?

      Or is the purpose to get some information you wouldn’t otherwise have from the cooperating defendant?

      1. I want to get the information without being lenient. And make it look like an accident.

  10. Before re-inventing the wheel: Has anyone studied the French system of allowing a victim to be a “civil party”? How has it worked in France, is it effective, is it classist, etc? Could some version of it be transplanted to the USA to protect victims’ rights.

    This is one of those cases where I ask a question because I don’t know the answer.

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