Marsy’s Law for Tennessee Honors Joan Berry and Tina Gregg with Champion Of Victims’ Rights Award
Knoxville, Tenn. - Marsy’s Law for Tennessee presented advocates Joan Berry and Tina Gregg of Knoxville with the Champion of Victims’ Rights Award for their decades of hard work and dedication to protecting the rights of crime victims and their families in Tennessee.
“Joan Berry and Tina Gregg could not be more deserving of this honor,” said Marsy’s Law for Tennessee State Director Bonnie Brezina. “Marsy’s Law for Tennessee wanted to recognize their tireless efforts and thank them for advocating for the thousands of survivors and families in Tennessee who fall victim to crime each year.”
Gregg has spent the last decade fighting for stronger protections for victims after her daughter, Brooke Morris, was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend and boss in 2011. Brooke’s mother, Tina, was retraumatized in the months before her daughter’s murderer was convicted. Tina was never notified by local officials when the man accused with her murder left the state. She found out that he was walking the streets from a friend on Facebook, creating fear and anxiety during an already difficult time in her life.
Berry is a long time victims’ rights advocate and mother of Johnia Berry, who was murdered in West Knoxville in 2004. She founded the group “HOPE for Victims” to give a voice to family members who have lost loved ones to crime. In 2007, Berry helped to implement the “Johnia Berry Act 2007” that requires a DNA sample be submitted when a person is arrested for a violent felony.
Berry and Gregg have endorsed Marsy’s Law for Tennessee (House Joint Resolution 44)- a law that will ensure that victims of crime have equal, constitutional rights as those accused and convicted of crimes. Both volunteer their time to educate lawmakers and the public about how the law would benefit crime victims.
“The pain never goes away when you lose a child to crime, but we find comfort in honoring Brooke’s legacy by fighting to make sure the legal system doesn’t add any more pain to victims and their families,” Tina Gregg said. “I’m honored to advocate for Marsy’s Law in Tennessee and appreciate this award.”
“I’m grateful for this recognition and will continue to advocate for Marsy’s Law and for crime victims and their families,” said Joan Berry. “We must do all we can to ensure crime victims have equal rights and a voice in our legal system.”
Adopting Marsy’s Law in Tennessee will provide victims with the ability to assert the critical rights to which they are promised including:
- The right to be treated with fairness for the victim's safety, dignity, and privacy;
- The right, upon request, to reasonable and timely notice of, and to be present at, all criminal public proceedings and all juvenile delinquency proceedings involving the accused;
- The right to be heard in any proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, and parole, as well as any public proceeding when relevant during which a right of the victim is implicated;
- The right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice system, including reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused;
- The right, upon request, to reasonable notice of any release, transfer, or escape of the accused or convicted person;
- The right to full and timely restitution from the offender;
- The right to a speedy trial or disposition and a prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction or sentence;
- The right, upon request, to confer with the prosecution;
- The right to be fully informed of all rights afforded to crime victims.
For more information, visit marsyslawfortn.com.
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail.
In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.