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Attorney General Nessel Testifies at House Committee in Support of Witness and Victim Confidentiality Bills

LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel testified alongside state Representatives Kelly Breen and Denise Mentzer before the Judiciary Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives in support of House Bills 4738 and 4739, to enhance witness and victim confidentiality throughout the court system.

House Bills 4738 and 4739 would require that Prosecutors redact the addresses and telephone numbers of victims and witnesses when turning over discovery to the defense.

“Providing witnesses’ and victims’ addresses during a criminal trial will deter victims from participating in the criminal justice system,” said Nessel. “And giving abusers access to phone numbers and addresses puts at grave risk these brave individuals who, in the pursuit of justice, are willing to testify against defendants.”

The legislation clearly outlines the victim and witness personal information that is to be protected including home addresses, phone numbers, and social security number. It also provides a clear process to ensure defense counsels and defendants have access to the victims and witnesses information when necessary to ensure protection of their due process rights.

“I have always said that it takes great strength and courage for victims to face their abusers or assailants,” Nessel said in her testimony. “They are the most vulnerable individuals in our judicial system—and they deserve and require encouragement and our protection. And we know that many victims are afraid to come forward, particularly those who are victims of sexual and domestic abuse.”  

The bills are currently in the House Judiciary committee.

“Fairness and justice should occur on both sides of the courtroom,” Nessel continued. “In the criminal Justice system, victims are not an interference to our work, victims are the reason for our work.”


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