University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul Cassell and attorney Bradley J. Edwards have filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of sex abuse victims of multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The petition asks the full Eleventh Circuit to rehear its earlier divided (2-1) ruling, rejecting the victims’ appeal challenging a secret non-prosecution agreement.
In the petition filed today, Cassell called the case “perhaps the most important case in our nation’s history involving crime victims’ rights in the criminal justice process.” Cassell noted that the early panel ruling had called the secret plea deal with Epstein a “national disgrace.” But the earlier ruling concluded that Epstein’s victims had no rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, because federal criminal charges were never filed against Epstein.
The latest petition for rehearing argues that “[i]f the panel decision is left in place, it will permit ‘secret’ justice depriving literally thousands of crime victims throughout this Circuit of any CVRA rights until the Government formally files charges.” The petition contends that Congress extends right to crime victims even before the formal filing of criminal charges, as other federal courts had previously held.
Cassell is available to field media inquiries on the development at (801) 585-5202 or firstname.lastname@example.org (he is also available via Zoom and Skype).