Siouxland crime victim survivors push for Marsy’s Law in Iowa

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxland crime victims are pushing for Iowa lawmakers to pass their own version of Marsy’s Law.

Marsy’s Law was founded in California. It’s named for Marsalee Nicholas, who was stalked and murdered. Her family said they were never notified Marsalee’s killer was released on bail.

Advocates of Marsy’s Law for Iowa said they want to even the playing field for victims of crime.

State director of Marsy’s Law for Iowa Eric Baker said victims of violent crime in Iowa do not have constitutional rights.

“We’re one of only 14 states where victims don’t have constitutional rights like notification on the status of their offender. The right to restitution. Even as simple the right to be informed of their rights,” Baker said.

Some crime victim survivors said it’s time to put focus on the victim instead of the offender.

“2015 my husband and I had left our house and literally a half a block a way we had passed a truck carrying a trailer… we saw the driver slumped over the wheel. I’m a paramedic and a nurse and doing what I’d normally do pulled over to see exactly what was going on… The driver managed to grab his keys, took off with the truck. Headed at me and violently ran over and killed my husband in front of me,” survivor Liz Ford said.

Ford said she was never notified of restitution or any plea agreements.

“I think Marsy’s Law not only would be involved in helping the victims and survivors deal with all those issues and giving us the support,” Ford said.

Sioux City Police Sgt. Jeremy McClure said anything that would expand a victims role in the process would benefit the justice system as a whole.

“We already by law have to do that with domestic abuse victims and it’s something I think proves beneficial to those victims, keeping them informed and letting them be part of the process to ensure that justice is served on their behalf,” McClure said.

Baker said there are some laws on the books that address the rights of victims, but they’re unevenly enforced across the state and they could be repealed by lawmakers, with a simple majority.

If you want to know more about Marsy’s Law, click here.

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