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.