Marsy’s Law would provide clear and enforceable rights for crime victims
Last week marked National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and it provided an opportunity to examine the rights our victims of crime are guaranteed. Frankly, in Tennessee, I think those rights fall short, and it’s why I support Marsy’s Law.
Marsy’s Law guarantees equal and enforceable rights for crime victims across Tennessee. You might be shocked that the rights outlined in Marsy’s Law are not already in place – the right for a victim to be notified of the release of an abuser, the right to be notified about proceedings and be vocal in those proceedings, the right to be treated with dignity and respect through the judicial process.
Crime victims all too often experience trauma that extends far past the scene of the crime, and often into the judicial process. Marsalee Nicholas’s family, who Marsy’s Law was named for, ran into her murderer a week after her death at the grocery store on the way back from her funeral. Her murderer was her ex-boyfriend, who stalked and killed her while she was a student at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983. They were not notified that he was released on bail.
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Marsy’s Law puts vital barriers in place that would protect devastating and traumatic situations like this from happening to crime victims and their families here in Tennessee. I am proud of our Tennessee House of Representatives for passing Marsy’s Law 92-0, and I look forward to working hard with my colleagues to pass it in the Senate next session. Senator John Stevens, who represents part of West Tennessee, is leading the fight for the legislation in the Senate, and I am proud to stand with him in supporting it.
This huge step would not be possible without so many members of the General Assembly fighting for the legislation this session. Thank you to House co-sponsors Representatives Lamberth, Gant, Doggett, Hulsey, Davis, Moody, Sherrell, Hardaway, Jernigan, Tim Hicks, Farmer, Holsclaw, Butler, Hale, Vaughan, Darby, Crawford, Alexander, McCalmon, Gary Hicks, Greg Martin, Bricken, Russell, Zachary, Burkhart, Baum, Boyd, Whitson, Cepicky, White, Marsh, Camper, Cochran, Faison, Williams, Barrett, and Moon. Our hard work is just beginning, but we will not give up. The House has done its due diligence, and now it’s our turn.
I stand with survivors, victims’ families, victims’ rights advocates, Tennessee Sheriffs Association and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police in fighting for this critical legislation.
The support behind Marsy’s Law demonstrates to crime victims and their families that their voices matter, and that our Legislature cares about the way they are treated by the judicial system beyond the scene of the crime.
Thank you to all who have tirelessly worked over the years to raise awareness for Marsy’s Law and communicate the vital need for this legislation to me and my colleagues. We hear you, and we will continue to work to ensure clear and enforceable rights for victims are outlined in the Tennessee Constitution.