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Steve Twist

2020 Victim Rights Legend Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Steve Twist | Victim Rights Legend Award
Arizona Voice for Crime Victims
Scottsdale, Arizona

Because of Steve Twist’s vision, zeal for assisting victims in need, and his relentless determination, crime victims across the country have meaningful and enforceable rights. He started his advocacy for victim’s rights as a lawyer for the Navajo Nation. In 1975, he drafted a Tribal Resolution that established the Navajo Victim’s Rights Commission. 

Mr. Twist was the driving force behind Arizona’s crime victims’ constitutional amendment, known as the Arizona Victims’ Bill of Rights (VBR), which was enacted in 1990, and its implementing legislation in 1991. Beyond providing rights to victims on paper, Mr. Twist had a vision for providing victims a way to enforce their constitutional rights and assuring that their voices would be heard. 

In 1996, Mr. Twist shaped the future of victim services and victims’ rights when he founded Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, the first clinic of its kind to provide both legal and social services to crime victims. By providing victims with their own no-cost attorneys and social workers to enforce victims’ constitutional rights, Mr. Twist contributed significantly to advancing their effectiveness. 

Since 2001, he has served as an adjunct professor at the Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, teaching crime victims’ rights law. Mr. Twist’s work for victims extends beyond the borders of Arizona. He has worked tirelessly toward a federal constitutional amendment that could potentially provide federal constitutional rights to all victims of crimes. 

He was instrumental in the 2004 passage of the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), by working with the two lead sponsors of the legislation, Senator Jon Kyl (Arizona) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (California). The CVRA has protected victims through the federal system and provided model language for states to protect victims’ rights in state laws. After the passage of the CVRA, Mr. Twist and attorney Keli Luther took the first federal case under the CVRA in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. His argument before the court was successful. 

Mr. Twist has also been instrumental in the passage of constitutional amendments in other states; his constitutional language is found in states all across the country. He drafted the core language for Marsy’s Law in California in 2008, and now serves as a member of the National Policy Team for Marsy’s Law for All.

2020 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Steve Twist, 2020 recipient of the Victim Rights Legend Award.