Kathleen Wrigley: North Dakota Crime Victims Deserve Equal Rights

June 23, 2016

For more information, contact:
Amanda Godfread
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Kathleen Wrigley: North Dakota Crime Victims Deserve Equal Rights

BISMARCK, N.D. – Today Marsy’s Law for North Dakota Chairwoman Kathleen Wrigley issued the following statement in response to the press conference held by the North Dakota State’s Attorneys Association and North Dakota Victim’s Assistance Association announcing their opposition to Marsy’s Law for North Dakota.

“Today a few prosecutors and victims’ advocates are showing their callous disregard for equal rights for crime victims in North Dakota. Instead, these groups are endorsing the complacency of the status quo where crime victims in North Dakota are outright ignored by the criminal justice system making them to feel victimized all over again. These prosecutors and ‘victim advocates’ are telling voters today that offenders’ rights are more important than those they victimize. North Dakota crime victims deserve equal rights and that’s why more than more than 34,000 citizens have already come out in support of Marsy’s Law for North Dakota. I would ask all North Dakota voters, advocates, and victims, that support equal rights to join us in doing what’s right for crime victims in our state,” Wrigley said. 

From victims:

In addition to the broad and growing coalition of support for victims’ rights, several victims have bravely spoken out about their experiences being shut out by our existing system in North Dakota.

As a crime victim’s family member, Pam Perleberg of Fargo said, “My brother was murdered at a wedding dance in New Rockford last year. Throughout the court process, we have felt like outsiders, because we were clueless as to what was going on. Calls have not been returned and we’ve been made to feel like we’re burdening people by even asking for information – as if we have no stake in the situation, whatsoever.”

“No one ever plans to become a victim of crime, certainly not an 8- or a 4-year-old. But when someone finds themselves in that position, like us, they quickly realize their limited and sometimes non-existent rights,” said Jessica Armstrong of Minot, whose sister was murdered in 2007. “We as family members – the ones truly affected by the murder – were outside the entire process. There was no handbook to navigate the system – we were on our own. Don’t let anyone fool you, our system has holes, but it can be made better with stronger victims’ rights. I urge everyone to thoughtfully consider Marsy’s Law for North Dakota.”

For more information about strengthening victims’ rights in North Dakota, visit: marsyslawfornd.org.