Constitutional Amendment For Victims’ Rights Passes HI House Judiciary Committee

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Media Contact: Shauna Goya  

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FOR VICTIMS’ RIGHTS PASSES HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

Crime Victims Share Stories of a Failed System and Need for Equal Rights

HONOLULU — The House Judiciary Committee today passed for the second time this session a bill that would amend the Hawaii State Constitution to guarantee specific rights to victims of crime. Senate Bill 3034, Senate Draft 1 now moves to the House Finance Committee.

Victims from Oahu and the neighbor islands came out to testify, sharing how the criminal justice system has failed them and that current statutes don’t work as they were intended. Supporters say the only solution is constitutional rights, which are permanent and enforceable, and put victims on par with those of their accused.

“The passage of Marsy’s Law by the House Judiciary Committee today gives victims much hope as we are one step closer in providing equal rights to victims of crime,” said Marsy’s Law for Hawaii state director Stacy Evensen. “We’re hopeful more legislators who hear these horrific stories of injustice from victims and their families will understand why constitutional rights for crime victims are so important, and that they will allow voters a chance to support this issue on the General Election ballot.”

A recent poll commissioned by Marsy’s Law for Hawaii has found that 73% of likely voters would support the constitutional amendment and that 65% of voters would be more likely to re-elect a legislator who supports Marsy’s Law.

Hawaii is one of just 18 states without a constitutional provision protecting victims’ rights. While criminals have a variety of rights under the Hawaii Constitution, victims have no constitutional protections. Marsy’s Law for Hawaii aims to correct that imbalance and give equal and enforceable rights to victims.

The Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights (Marsy’s Law), if adopted, would guarantee the following basic rights to crime victims:

  • The right to be treated with courtesy, fairness, with respect for their dignity and privacy
  • throughout the criminal justice proceedings;
  • The right to receive information about their rights and services available to crime victims;
  • The right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in their criminal case;
  • The right to receive timely notification of changes to the offender’s custodial status;
  • The right to be present at court proceedings;
  • The right to provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized;
  • The right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release;
  • The right to restitution.

About Marsy’s Law for All

Marsy’s Law for All is dedicated to ensuring that crime victims’ rights are codified in law throughout the United States. When it passed in California in November 2008, Proposition 9, The Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law, became the strongest and most comprehensive constitutional victims’ rights law in the U.S. and put California at the forefront of the national victims’ rights movement. Marsy’s Law was also passed in Illinois in 2014.

For more information, visit www.marsyslawforhawaii.org.

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