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Crime Victims Bill of Rights Approved by Illinois Voters 11/11

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victim advocate, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal justice system,The Crime Victims Bill of Rights is a recently approved amendment to the Illinois Constitution that guarantees that victims and their families have the right to pursue an enforceable court action when their rights are violated. Also known as Marsy's Law, the new law seeks to soften the blow of the some of the long-term impacts facing victims and their families when proper access to the criminal justice system is denied and/or improperly executed by the courts and law enforcement.

The Need for A Crime Victims' Bill of Rights

Marsy's Law provides enhanced protections and rights for victims and their families. Marsy's Law was named after Marsy Ann Nicholas, a Santa Barbara student who was stalked and then murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after Marsy's death, her family was confronted by her murderer at a local area grocery store. At this time they had not been given notice that Marsy's killer had been released from jail on bail. This confrontation caused additional pain and suffering for an already grieving family, and highlighted the need for a victim's family to receive relevant information from the courts and law enforcement agencies. In 2008, California passed a Marsy's Law, and now Illinois may be following suit.

The Crime Victims Bill of Rights takes the form of an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. The voters were asked to decide whether crime victims and their families should have enhanced protections during criminal trials and court proceedings. The primary goal of the Crime Victims Bill of Rights is to ensure that all future victims of violent crimes in Illinois have a formal voice in the criminal justice procedure, and constitutional rights that must be upheld, enforced and protected. The enhanced protections  now include the requirement that victims can submit impact statements and receive notifications of all prison releases, hearings and plea negotiations involving the accused.

Opponents of the bill argued that the enhanced protections would add time to the trial process at a time when Illinois's judicial system is often criticized for inefficiency. Other opponents asserted that the enhanced victims' rights would be more effective as a distinct separate law, and opposed the protections in the form as an amendment to the Illinois constitution. In response, proponents of the amendment believe that crime victims' rights deserve constitutional recognition, protection, and support in order to prevent prosecutorial and judicial inefficiencies at taking the proper precautions to protect and inform victims and their families.

Crime victims' rights may have additional effects on those who are facing criminal charges in Illinois. If you need professional legal representation in a criminal suit, contact the experienced Plainfield criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C. today.
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