Madam Speaker, to support National Crime Victims Week, the Washington Post printed an opinion piece submitted by a criminal defense lawyer that belittled victims of crime, implying that victims are what is wrong with the criminal justice system and our society.

   It seems the op-ed writer does not believe the criminal justice system should pay any attention to victims. To him, crime victims should not be seen and not heard. However, the same Constitution that protects defendants also protects victims of crime.

   Justice is viewed as a scale, a balance. As a former judge, I always balanced the rights of defendants with the rights of society to be safe and the rights of crime victims. A court of law is to seek justice, justice for defendants and justice for victims.

   Sometimes defendants don't want justice, especially the guilty ones. They think it's Burger King, where they can have it their way. But justice is not having it your way. It's doing the right thing for the right reason. The right thing is for victims to be heard and present in our courts of law, and then let the courts weigh the rights of the defendants and victims to achieve justice so that we can have liberty and justice for all.

   And that's just the way it is.