Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Announces “Stand With Crime Victims” Pledge



April 12, 2018

Contact: Myranda Tanck

[email protected]

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Announces “Stand With Crime Victims” Pledge

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin supporters announce pledge for 2018 legislative candidates during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

MADISON  Today, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Attorney General Brad Schimel, and a number of prominent victims’ rights advocates to announce the “Stand With Crime Victims” pledge and ask candidates for Wisconsin legislative office to make a commitment to support equal rights for crime victims.

The announcement comes during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), an annual nationwide observance organized by the U.S. Office of Justice Programs. Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is organizing a statewide recognition of NCVRW as part of its broader efforts to update the State Constitution to strengthen the rights of crime victims. The coalition in favor of the effort has already garnered broad bipartisan support in the legislature, more than 350 prominent endorsements, and thousands of signatories on the petition backing the effort.

“Wisconsin has long been a leader in advocating for the rights of crime victims. To continue this leadership role, I hope next year’s legislature will support and pass Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Our criminal justice system is stronger when crime victims are stronger, because their strength is the foundation for other crime victims to come forward and ultimately, helps us put more perpetrators behind bars.”

“We worked with stakeholders from all points of view and all political persuasions to craft the language that ultimately passed last year with overwhelming bipartisan support,” said Wisconsin Senator Van Wanggaard, lead Senate author of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan legislation. “The Legislature needs to finish the job quickly in 2019 so that the voters can adopt these new rights into our Constitution in April of next year.  Crime victims shouldn’t have to wait any longer for these important rights.”

“I am supporting this effort because victims deserve the right to be notified at all stages of criminal justice proceedings. They also deserve to have their voices heard throughout the process. By including these rights in our State Constitution, we will continue Wisconsin’s long history of working together to provide rights to crime victims,” said Wisconsin Senator Tim Carpenter, co-author of the legislation.

The pledge reads, “I…believe that victims of crime deserve equal rights during the criminal justice process. I pledge, that if elected in November, I will support the update of the Wisconsin Crime Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on first consideration as 2017 Senate Joint Resolution 53. I further pledge that I will work to see Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin passes the Legislature on second consideration in early 2019 so that it can be put before voters on April 2, 2019 for ratification. Victims should not have to wait any longer for these rights.” The pledge will be available to all candidates for Wisconsin legislative office.



You can find facts on Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan legislation below:

  • Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin follows a proud tradition in our state of protecting victims’ rights, unlike many other states. Wisconsin already has a constitutional amendment on victims’ rights that passed in 1993, and was the first state in the nation to pass a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. The state also is recognized as having some of the strongest statutory rights for victims in the country. This means the changes we are proposing are about making sure victims’ rights are truly equal alongside the constitutional rights of the accused – nothing more, nothing less.
  • Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin strengthens rights that already exist in Wisconsin. The proposed amendment would do two things: Elevate certain rights currently under state statute to be fully constitutional rights, and strengthen other rights that are already part of the Constitution.
  • Nearly 80 percent of Wisconsinites support updating our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims. A poll of Wisconsinites found that nearly 80 percent support updating our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims. More than 80 percent support a victim’s right to speak up at more points in the criminal justice process, and 68 percent said they were “more likely” to support a state legislative candidate who supported Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. The bipartisan legislation must be passed in the state Legislature twice, then by voters at the ballot box.

About Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is a grassroots coalition that has developed a unique proposal to give victims of crime equal rights in our state, building on Wisconsin’s laws and history of leading on this issue. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.

Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email [email protected].

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin can be found on our website, Twitter, and Facebook.