Illinois Senate passes Marsy's Law amendment

By WEEK Reporter

Illinois Senate passes Marsy's Law amendment

April 25, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 2:16 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- The Illinois Senate approved Wednesday a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution - Marsy's Law for Illinois - that would expand the right of victims and their families to participate more fully in criminal justice proceedings.

The Senate approved HJRCA 29 by a vote of 55-1.  The bill now heads back to the House for final approval.  The measure was previously approved by the House 116-2.  If approved by both chambers, the amendment will be put to voters on the November 6 ballot.

"This amendment will provide a remedy for victims and families if their rights are violated," said Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, director of Marsy's Law for Illinois.  "No longer will they ignored or excluded from the process."

If passed, Marsy's Law for Illinois would ensure that crime victims are:

·      Guaranteed the right to be informed of court proceedings
·      Guaranteed the right to be present at trials and hearings regarding their case subject to judicial approval
·      Guaranteed the right to present a written statement to the court about the impact a violent crime has had on them
·      Provided greater access to post trial proceedings
·      Guaranteed timely action on requests
·      Allowed to appeal decisions that affect the exercise of their personal rights

Marsy's Law is named after Marsy Nicholas, a 23-year-old student at UC Santa Barbara who was stalked and murdered by an ex-boyfriend.  Marsy's Law was originally passed in California.  Illinois version of the law is based on the language of the existing California law.

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