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The Uniform Crime Victims Reparations Act, approved by the American Bar Association's House of Delegates, has been submitted to state legislatures. This timely act seeks recompense for the victims of crimes, but also incorporates numerous safeguards to prevent abuse.

The American Bar Association's House of Delegates, meeting in Houston on February 5, 1974, approved an idea whose time is rapidly approaching the Uniform Crime Victims Reparations Act. The act is the product of a committee of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws for which I served as consultant and reporter over its three years of deliberations. The conference approved the act in 1973 and recommends adoption in all states.

The act establishes a state-financed program of reparations to persons who suffer personal injury, and to dependents of persons killed, as the result of certain criminal conduct or attempts to prevent criminal conduct or apprehend the perpetrators. A specially constituted board determines, independent of any court adjudication, the existence of a crime, the damages caused, and the other requisites for reparations, except that a final conviction determines that a crime has occurred. "Preponderance of the evidence" is the standard used. Reparations cover economic loss--medical expenses, rehabilitative and occupational retraining expenses, loss of earnings, and the cost of actual substitute services.

Publication Citation

A.B.A. J., Dec. 1974, at 1531-1535