Marsy’s Law is an organization based in California that advocates for rights for crime victims. Each state does things its own way. “Marsy” was Marsalee Ann Nicholas, a UC-Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Marsy’s law was eventually started by Marsy’s brother, who was very disturbed when his family encountered Marsy’s murderer in a grocery store just one week after Marsy’s murder; they had no idea he’d been released on bail.
Marsy’s Law is an organization based in California that advocates for rights for crime victims. Each state does things their own way. “Marsy” was Marsalee Ann Nicholas, a UC-Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.
 
Marsy’s law was eventually started by Marsy’s brother, who was very disturbed when his family encountered Marsy’s murderer in a grocery store just one week after Marsy’s murder; they had no idea he’d been released on bail.
 
In Wisconsin, Marsy’s Law is a grassroots movement working with a broad coalition of Wisconsinites to give equal rights to crime victims, proposing the following be put into the state constitution:
  • The right to be treated with courtesy, fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice proceedings;
  • The right to receive information about their rights and the services available to crime victims;
  • The right to receive timely notification of proceedings and other major developments in the case;
  • The right to receive timeline notification of changes to the offender’s custodial status;
  • The right to be present at court proceedings and to provide input to the prosecutor;
  • The right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release;
  • The right to restitution.
To amend the state constitution, the proposal must go through two legislative sessions, then go to the ballot for voter approval. The infrastructure needed to carry out victim’s rights already exists across Wisconsin, so Marsy’s Law will not burden our justice system with higher costs. Luke also noted that because Marsy’s Law is fully funded by Marsy’s brother, he isn’t here to raise money, instead focusing on raising awareness and encouraging us to support the effort.
 
In response to a question, Luke affirmed that each state has a different approach to victim’s rights. He noted that while some worry that giving more rights to victims will take rights away from the accused, nothing in Marsy’s law impedes on existing rights for the accused, including their right to a fair trial. The problem right now is that the accused person’s constitutional rights can trump the victim’s statutory rights; putting the victim’s rights into the constitution would put them on equal ground.
Learn more at www.equalrightsforwi.org and ask your legislator to support AJR 45/SJR 53.
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