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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