Most people have heard of the case where a burglar broke into a house, injuring himself and later suing the homeowner. The burglar in question won, and was awarded damages.
While that particular story has evolved into somewhat of an urban legend, there are several examples of real-world cases where criminals were injured in the act. These criminals were later able to sue the victim of their initial crime for negligence, and often successfully settled for large sums of money.
Of course, we all hope that judges or juries will exercise good sense and protect the victims of Arizona criminals from erroneous lawsuits intended to intimidate or further antagonize. Elections earlier this month saw overwhelming voter approval for the Arizona Crime Victim Protection Act, or Proposition 114. Proposition 114 aims to amend the Arizona Constitution, preventing criminals from suing the victims of their felony crimes should they be injured while committing these felonies.
The proposition’s amendment reads, “…a crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while the person is attempting to engage in, engaging in or fleeing after having engaged in or attempted to engage in conduct that is classified as a felony offense.” There are already two statutes in place that prevent criminals from filing lawsuits against their own victims, but one was found to conflict with the state Constitution in a 2006 appeal, as it limited the right to sue.
In the weeks leading up to the election, the Arizona Democratic Party encouraged Arizonans to vote against Proposition 114. A spokesperson, Frank Comacho, said that despite it being a redundant measure, the results in its favor spoke volumes of voters’ feelings on the matter.
Despite the amendment’s supposed redundancy, victim’s rights are an important matter that Arizona voters felt strongly about in the elections. If you or someone you love is a victim of a felony crime in Phoenix or the surrounding areas, the Phoenix attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected—call today at 888.929.5292 or 602.258.1000 for a free, confidential consultation.