Marsy's Law for Mississippi Kicks Off Statewide Campaign
PHILADELPHIA, MISS.: On Thursday, August 1, Speaker Philip Gunn will be joined by elected officials and victims’ rights advocates to formally kick off the statewide campaign for Marsy’s Law for Mississippi at the Neshoba County Fair, Cabin 211, at 12:40 p.m.
The proposed constitutional amendment, once passed by the legislature and approved by the voters, would ensure that crime victims and their families are provided with the same level of equal, or “co-equal”, constitutional rights as those afforded and guaranteed to the accused or convicted. Included in the overall effort to re-inject the voice of the victim into court proceedings, the passage of Marsy’s Law for Mississippi would grant enforceable rights to crime victims and their families. These rights include the right to be treated with respect, fairness, and dignity throughout the criminal justice process; the right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims; the right to notification of proceedings in a timely manner; the right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims; the right to be present at court proceedings; the right to provide input to a prosecutor before a plea deal is struck; the right to be heard at parole or sentence proceedings; and the right to restitution. “We want to ensure that victims of crime are not let down by our justice system,” says Gunn. “My goal is to help Mississippi’s crime victims achieve both justice and restoration and to feel heard throughout the legal process.”
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after her murder, Marsy’s mother was confronted by her daughter’s murderer in a grocery store. Having received no notification from the judicial system, the family was unaware that he had been released on bail mere days after the murder. Marsy’s family and others have faced pain and suffering since the courts and law enforcement are not obligated to keep them informed. While criminals have more than 20 individual rights spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, the surviving family members of murder victims have none. Marsy’s Law for All seeks to amend the Mississippi constitution to ensure that crime victims have the same co-equal rights as the accused and convicted. Victims and advocates interested in sharing their stories can email [email protected]