Campaign to Create Equal Rights for Crime Victims Launched in Iowa

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Campaign to Create Equal Rights for Crime Victims Launched in Iowa

Marsy’s Law for Iowa efforts get underway with bipartisan support of elected officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (February 5, 2018) —In an effort to bring more fairness to Iowa’s judicial system, Marsy’s Law for Iowa rolled out their campaign efforts today at a press conference at the Iowa Capitol.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg were flanked by Marsy’s Law supporters — victims’ rights advocates, law enforcement members, legislators and county prosecutors — to show support for a constitutional amendment to give victims of crime equal rights that are already afforded to the accused.

“For too long, Iowa crime victims have had the scales of justice tipped against them. We can do something to give equal power to victims,” said Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion), lead sponsor of the legislation. “We need to change the culture and to effectively do that, we need to change the constitution.”

Under the Marsy’s Law legislation, victims would be given the following rights in the state constitution:

  • The right to be heard with notice of all proceedings
  • The right to be heard in any proceeding involving release, pleas, sentencing, deposition, and parole
  • The right to reasonable protection from the accused
  • The right to reasonable notice of any release or escape of the convicted
  • The right to restitution resulting from the financial impact of the crime

“I worked with Iowa crime victims for nearly 40 years and witnessed the long-term emotional, financial, spiritual and sometimes physical damage crime causes in the lives of victims and their families,” said Rep. Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines), co-sponsor of the legislation. “Marsy’s Law gives permanence and strength to the rights of thousands of crime victims in Iowa.”

Marsy’s Law efforts began in 1983, when Marsy Nichols of California was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Only a week after her murder, Marsy’s mother and brother were confronted in a grocery store by the accused murderer. The family had no idea he had been released on bail.

To amend the Iowa Constitution, a bill must pass two consecutive General Assemblies before it goes to the ballot for Iowans to vote. Both bills, Senate Study Bill 3040 and House Joint Resolution 2003, await consideration from the Judiciary committees.

 

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Marsy’s Law for Iowa is a grassroots coalition committed to giving victims of crime equal constitutional rights and protections in our state. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after her murder, Marsy’s mother and brother walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family had no idea he had been released on bail. For more information, please visit www.marsyslaw.us and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.