Brooklyn Law Review


Margaret Garvin


There is a lack of consistency in how courts interpret the use or placement of an apostrophe on “victim.” While this may seem like a minor grammatical or typological error, it has a tremendous effect on victim’s rights, as it virtually erases the victim due to the confusion over the ownership of said rights. This essay analyzes how the placement of the apostrophe, in cases dealing with subpoenas duces tecum, have led courts to interpret victim rights in multiple ways, but all with the same outcome—excluding the actual victim from consideration. This causes the actual victims, even when the court does hold that they have ownership of their rights, to be denied true agency over those rights. This essay proposes how to close the gap between mere rights ownership and true victim agency by requiring counsel for victims of crimes.