Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, Acting Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week National Observance and Candlelight Ceremony
April 10, 2008
Thank you, John [Gillis]. I’m humbled to be part of this observance and to join all of you in recognizing and remembering our nation’s crime victims.
Attorney General Mukasey, we’re honored that you could join us tonight for this special remembrance.
It’s also an honor to welcome our other distinguished guests, U.S. Attorney Taylor and Mr. Dunne. We’re very glad that both of you could be with us. Welcome also to Governor Bredesen and Tennessee First Lady Conte, who are with us in the audience tonight. We’re pleased that you were able to join us.
And welcome to each and every one of you.
We’re here this evening to witness our fraternity with the millions of people across the country who have suffered victimization at the hands of criminals. We’re here to offer our support to victims and to their families as they deal with the terrible physical, emotional, and financial hardships that crime leaves in its wake. We’re here to let victims know that their suffering will not be forgotten, but will be a constant reminder of the human cost of crime and of our need for compassionate action.
The theme of this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – “Justice for Victims, Justice for All” – underscores how important it is that we recognize the needs and rights of all crime victims. True justice is achieved only when the claims of the aggrieved are satisfied. True justice is realized only when victims are treated with the fairness and respect they deserve and to which they are entitled. From there springs the hope of a just society for all.
The Office of Justice Programs, through its Office for Victims of Crime, is working hard to make sure that all victims have a voice in the criminal justice system, as well as a place to turn for support. You have all been partners in that effort, laboring in the shadows to bring the cares and concerns of victims into the light. We are grateful for all that you do every day.
Tonight, our thoughts rest on those whose lives have been lost or forever changed by the acts of criminals. The lighting of our candles will be a moment of solemn reflection, but it will also be a chance to consecrate the memory of all victims in the work that we do and in the lives that we lead.
I am now honored to introduce our next speaker.
Michael Mukasey was sworn in as our nation’s 81st Attorney General on November 9, 2007. Prior to that time, he was a lawyer in private practice and served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for 18 years. As a federal judge, he presided over hundreds of trials dealing with areas of priority to the Department of Justice. He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in New York and was chief of that district’s Official Corruption Unit.
Attorney General Mukasey has devoted his career to the public good. He knows that true justice will never be achieved until we uniformly respect the rights of victims and fully meet victims’ needs. We are honored to have him with us at this remembrance. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the Attorney General of the United States, Michael Mukasey.