Beyond The Statistics
An average of nine violent crimes happens every day in Montana, according to FBI crime statistics; that’s in addition to almost seventy property crimes per day. In 2014, Montana had thirty-seven murders and 541 rapes; over 200 robberies and 2500 aggravated assaults.
Behind each of those statistics is individual victims. For many, the crime committed against them doesn’t happen in an isolated moment in time—the trauma goes on to affect their work, their family life, their relationships, and their ability to simply feel safe.
Marsy’s Law for Montana can’t solve all of these problems or heal all of the wounds. But Marsy’s Law can be a huge help in one important aspect—it will make sure that the criminal justice process works more smoothly for victims.
Currently, in Montana, those accused or convicted of a crime are protected by the state Constitution. However, victims of crime do not have protections at the same level. This means that during the criminal justice process, the rights of the accused/convicted will always trump the rights of their victims. Therefore, it is critical that we elevate the rights of victims up to the Constitutional level so they are on an equal level with those who are accused or convicted of a crime.
Montana has fallen short in its duty to protect victims of crime. It is time to correct this oversight and Marsy’s Law is a proven solution that will give crime victims the rights they deserve.