Tennessee Crime Victims Say Passing Marsy’s Law Is Essential This Year


Crime victim advocates say they want members of the Tennessee General Assembly to consider Marsy’s Law before they adjourn their session for the year.

Supporters said this in an emailed press release this week.

“As the legislature decides what bills will be voted on before they adjourn the session for the year, crime victims want lawmakers to know the rights of victims cannot wait,” the press release said.

As The Tennessee Star reported in February, State Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) and State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, (R-Signal Mountain) have introduced the legislation that they say would strengthen the rights of crime victims in Tennessee’s Constitution.

This resolution will ensure that victims of crime have equal, constitutional rights on the same level as those accused and convicted of crimes, according to the press release.

“If passed in two consecutive general assemblies, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing these protections would be placed on the November 2022 ballot for voters to approve,” the press release said.

According to the press release, adopting Marsy’s Law in Tennessee will provide victims with the ability to assert the critical rights to which they are promised including:

• The right to be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice system, including reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused

• The right, upon request, to reasonable notice of any release or escape of an accused

• The right to full and timely restitution from the offender

• The right to a speedy trial or disposition and a prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction or sentence

• The right, upon request, to confer with the prosecution

• The right to be fully informed of all rights afforded to crime victims

As The Star reported in March, Marsy’s Law members warned Tennessee sheriffs at the onset of COVID-19 in the United States not to release inmates from their jails unless they notify the inmates’ alleged victims.

“During these unprecedented times, we are grateful for our law enforcement leaders who work every day to keep us safe. We understand many sheriffs are forced to make difficult decisions. We just ask that victims also be considered,” said Bonnie Brezina of Marsy’s Law for Tennessee.

“Victims are already dealing with added stress by being isolated from supportive family members and resources. They should not have to deal with the possibility of being contacted or encountered by an accused perpetrator they believed was safely locked up in jail.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Patsy Hazlewood” by Patsy Hazelwood.





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3 Thoughts to “Tennessee Crime Victims Say Passing Marsy’s Law Is Essential This Year”

  1. CCW

    Bill supporters are wise to look at pathways bill has to travel before even being voted on the floor, even if it gets that far. TN House and Senate legislative subcommittees are well known as where bill go to die. if not blessed by the lobbyists.

    1. Cannoneer2

      That’s one reason Tennessee needs to move to a unicameral Legislature.

    2. William Delzell

      We already have plenty of so-called victims’ rights laws. What more do you want? While some of these laws are genuinely meant to help victims without destroying due process for the accused, the REAL motive of many of the politicians who sponsor these bills is to protect only a PARTICULAR type of victim: one who is rich, white, preferably female, and a victim without a prior record who demands not just punishment, but excessively severe punishment. Thus, the real purpose of these laws is not to protect victims, but to simply to incite revenge and mob violence. What about victims of fraudulent crimes such as the elderly on fixed incomes who get ripped off by crooked insurance and pharmacy companies? What about the victim of a drunk driver? What about victims of hate crimes? What about poor victims by rich predators of either gender? No, these so-called victims’ rights laws are simply a plot by extreme rightists to promote a police state.