Rights of the Victim

Victims of crimes in Texas are guaranteed certain rights in the Texas Constitution, including:

  • the right to dignity and privacy during the trial
  • protection from the accused
  • the right to present in court
  • the right of restitution (i.e., compensation for an injury or loss)
  • the right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused

Rights of the Accused 

Rights of the accused in Texas either mirror or parallel rights found in the U.S. Constitution.  Many of the rights of the accused in Texas are included in Article I, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution of 1876, which states:

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury.  He shall have the right to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof.  He shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, and shall have the right of being heard by himself or counsel, or both, shall be confronted by the witnesses against . . . And no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on an indictment by a grand jury.

In practice, Texas political culture has not been overly supportive of the rights of the accused, and the ability to obtain decent indigent defense varies greatly across the state.