611A.74 CRIME VICTIM OMBUDSMAN; CREATION.
Subdivision 1. Authority under this act.
The commissioner shall have the authority under
to investigate decisions, acts, and other matters of the criminal
justice system so as to promote the highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and
justice for crime victims in the criminal justice system.
Subd. 1a.[Repealed, 2002 c 220 art 7 s 33
Subd. 2. Duties.
The commissioner may investigate complaints concerning possible
violation of the rights of crime victims or witnesses provided under this chapter, the delivery
of victim services by victim assistance programs, the administration of the crime victims
reparations act, and other complaints of mistreatment by elements of the criminal justice system
or victim assistance programs. The commissioner shall act as a liaison, when the commissioner
deems necessary, between agencies, either in the criminal justice system or in victim assistance
programs, and victims and witnesses. The commissioner may be concerned with activities that
strengthen procedures and practices which lessen the risk that objectionable administrative acts
will occur. The commissioner must answer questions concerning the criminal justice system
and victim services put to the commissioner by victims and witnesses in accordance with the
commissioner's knowledge of the facts or law, unless the information is otherwise restricted. The
commissioner shall establish a procedure for referral to the crime victim crisis centers, the crime
victims reparations board, and other victim assistance programs when services are requested by
crime victims or deemed necessary by the commissioner.
The commissioner's files are confidential data as defined in section
, during the course of an investigation or while the files are active. Upon completion of the
investigation or when the files are placed on inactive status, they are private data on individuals
as defined in section
13.02, subdivision 12
Subd. 3. Powers.
The commissioner has those powers necessary to carry out the duties
set out in subdivision 2, including:
(a) The commissioner may investigate, with or without a complaint, any action of an element
of the criminal justice system or a victim assistance program included in subdivision 2.
(b) The commissioner may request and shall be given access to information and assistance
the commissioner considers necessary for the discharge of responsibilities. The commissioner
may inspect, examine, and be provided copies of records and documents of all elements of the
criminal justice system and victim assistance programs. The commissioner may request and shall
be given access to police reports pertaining to juveniles and juvenile delinquency petitions,
. Any information received by the commissioner
retains its data classification under chapter 13 while in the commissioner's possession. Juvenile
records obtained under this subdivision may not be released to any person.
(c) The commissioner may prescribe the methods by which complaints are to be made,
received, and acted upon; may determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made; and
subject to the requirements of sections
, may determine the form, frequency,
and distribution of commissioner conclusions, recommendations, and proposals.
(d) After completing investigation of a complaint, the commissioner shall inform in writing
the complainant, the investigated person or entity, and other appropriate authorities of the action
taken. If the complaint involved the conduct of an element of the criminal justice system in
relation to a criminal or civil proceeding, the commissioner's findings shall be forwarded to
the court in which the proceeding occurred.
(e) Before announcing a conclusion or recommendation that expressly or impliedly criticizes
an administrative agency or any person, the commissioner shall consult with that agency or person.
Subd. 4. No compelled testimony.
Neither the commissioner nor any member of the
commissioner's staff may be compelled to testify or produce evidence in any judicial or
administrative proceeding with respect to matters involving the exercise of official duties under
except as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this section.
Subd. 5. Recommendations.
(a) On finding a complaint valid after duly considering the
complaint and whatever material the commissioner deems pertinent, the commissioner may
recommend action to the appropriate authority.
(b) If the commissioner makes a recommendation to an appropriate authority for action,
the authority shall, within a reasonable time period, but not more than 30 days, inform the
commissioner about the action taken or the reasons for not complying with the recommendation.
(c) The commissioner may publish conclusions and suggestions by transmitting them to the
governor, the legislature or any of its committees, the press, and others who may be concerned.
When publishing an opinion adverse to an administrative agency, the commissioner shall
include any statement the administrative agency may have made to the commissioner by way of
explaining its past difficulties or its present rejection of the commissioner's proposals.
Subd. 6. Reports.
In addition to whatever reports the commissioner may make from time to
time, the commissioner shall biennially report to the legislature and to the governor concerning
the exercise of the commissioner's functions under sections
preceding biennium. The biennial report is due on or before the beginning of the legislative
session following the end of the biennium.
History: 1Sp1985 c 4 s 20; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 244 s 7; 1988 c 638 s 16; 1990 c 583 s 8,9;
1995 c 226 art 7 s 17; 1997 c 239 art 7 s 34-36; 1998 c 254 art 1 s 105; 1999 c 139 art 4 s 2;
1Sp2001 c 8 art 5 s 14; 2002 c 220 art 7 s 22-27