In 1982, President Ronald Reagan formed a Presidential Task Force to study the treatment of crime victims in the United States. After a long and arduous study, the Task Force concluded that the treatment of victims of crime was a "national disgrace". One of the Task Force recommendations was to amend the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution to include specific rights for crime victims. A strategy was adopted to achieve this goal to seek amendments to state constitutions from at least 37 states prior to introducing a federal constitutional amendment.
In 1992, Colorado passed a constitutional amendment that provides crime victims with certain rights. The principal of the Amendment is to ensure that the justice system provide victims with at least the same rights afforded to criminals. Victims of crime, through no fault of their own, suffer physical, emotional and financial loss. Their lives are irrevocably changed, as are the lives of their family and friends.
The Colorado State Constitution (Article II, Section 16a) states:
ANY PERSON WHO IS A VICTIM OF A CRIMINAL ACT OR SUCH PERSON’S DESIGNEE, LEGAL GUARDIAN, OR SURVIVING IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS IF SUCH PERSON IS DECEASED, SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD, WHEN RELEVANT, INFORMED AND PRESENT AT ALL CRITICAL STAGES OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS
Enabling legislation §24-4.1-301—304 CRS provides definitions and describes the specific responsibilities of each system regarding how the Amendment is to be applied.