Prosecutor's New Organization Focuses On Crime Victims Easing Their Pain
Locks And Wages
Clark's new line of work will encompass a wide range of practice areas. There will be elements of employment law, as he tries to win compensation for wages lost as the result of violent crimes. Housing law will be included as well, as Clark said sometimes landlords are reluctant to change locks or add security alarms or cameras after a crime has occurred.
Another focus will touch on education law, representing victims of violence in school. "Schools, in determining how to punish bullies or even accused sexual assailants, frequently ignore the rights and needs of victims, and there is no one who currently works to enforce that," Clark said. "It's not uncommon for schools to refuse to take actions to separate victims from their attackers after a disciplinary action, such as a school suspension, has been completed."
Clark's new practice will use a sliding fee scale based on the federal poverty guidelines and the client's ability to pay, with fees ranging from $25 to $250 an hour.
He anticipates a large part of his work will involve preparing crime victims to make statements in court, and working to prevent personal information, such as health records, from being released to the public. He might also handle some personal injury work on behalf of crime victims seeking to recover losses as a result of violent crime.
In creating the center, Clark selected a board of directors, including lawyers Wick R. Chambers and David Galuzzo, and David Rose, an education consultant from Boston. Sostena Romano, a non-profit project consultant and former project director for the Clinton Foundation, is also on the board.
Under the organization's charter, Clark will accept an annual salary of no more than $50,000. Even though he is the founder of the center, Clark said he will serve at the pleasure of the board. "I can be fired by the board of directors at any time if they choose," he said. "Just like any employee."
Interfering With Prosecution?
The new practice has gained the attention of prosecutors and the state-funded victim advocates who work with them.
Clark's former boss, New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington, described Clark as a "very intelligent, experienced prosecutor." Of the new practice, Dearington said prosecutors are "supportive of anything that improves the service of providing asisstance for a victim."