Being made aware of hearings. Having their voices heard. Being notified when an offender is free. Those are part of “Marsy's Law,” the “Crime Victims' Bill of Rights” which is a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide Illinois ballot Nov. 4. “There is an opportunity for that victim to actually go to court and to say, I want to be able to make my victim impact statement,” says Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “They can now (if this passes) actually bring a case in court. They didn't have standing previously. They didn't have the ability to appeal a decision made by a court, and now they will affirmatively have that ability if this passes and is put into our Constitution.”
Click here for summary
Isn't this all a common-sense thing which should be law anyway? It is law, but the state's original “victims' bill of rights” of 1992 lacked any enforcement provision. The director of Marsy's Law for Illinois, who lost a sister and brother-in-law – and that couple's unborn baby – to gunfire, points to a well-known case in which a rape victim's diary wound up as part of a trial despite its lack of evidence about the crime. “Under this new provision,” advocate Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins says, “that victim could object to … irrelevant private records being admitted.”
The Illinois General Assembly can pass no more than three referenda in one election. Next month, the “crime victims' bill of rights” takes its place alongside a voters’ rights amendment and a non-binding question about the minimum wage.
The measure will succeed if it gets yes votes from 60 percent of those voting on the question, or a majority of those who cast a ballot in the election.