The Criminal Code In Maine Is Not Enough For Crime Victims

It is time for Maine to grant crime victims the constitutional rights Marsy’s Law for Maine will afford them. Addressing the rights of crime victims in Maine’s criminal code is simply not enough.

Arthur “Art” Jette, who lost his grandson and his daughter’s best friend in a double homicide in Dexter in 1999, said it perfectly in a recent article he wrote for the Bangor Daily News in support of Marsy’s Law for Maine. Art wrote, “While Maine’s criminal code addresses the rights of crime victims in statute, and is well-meaning, it is not enough. The right to ‘request’ restitution is not a ‘right to restitution,’ and the ‘right’ to be notified of an upcoming legal proceeding ‘whenever practicable,’ as is currently the case, does not suffice because it is not a requirement. Victims of crime deserve these rights to be guaranteed in the Maine Constitution.”

Art could not have said it better. Maine law does not cut it when it comes to crime victims’ rights and their legal standing. It makes no sense that those accused and convicted of serious crimes in Maine have stronger and more enforceable rights than the rights of the innocent people they harmed. 

It is time for our state to finally recognize that crime victims deserve equal legal standing in the criminal justice system. The only way to do that is to grant victims in our state the equal constitutional rights and protections that Marsy’s Law for Maine will afford them.