Victim’s Story

Doris Tate

Born in Houston, Texas, Doris Tate was a housewife, married to Col. Paul Tate, an Army Intelligence Officer...

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The Latest

Voters in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to vote on Marsy's Law!

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QA: Paul Cassell

Former Federal Court Judge Paul Cassell shares personal insight into...

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Did you know?

Marsy's Law for All helped sponsor the National Crime Victim Law Institute...

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Noteworthy This Month

Marsy's Law is a national level campaign to create enforceable constitutional rights for victims of crime in state constitutions around the country, and to ultimately pursue a similar amendment to the United States Constitution.

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Doris Tate

Victim’s Story

Doris Tate

Born in Houston, Texas, Doris Tate was a housewife, married to Col. Paul Tate, an Army Intelligence Officer, who died in 2005, and mother of three daughters. In 1969, her eldest daughter, Sharon, who was at the beginning of a film career, married to film director Roman Polanski, and eight months pregnant with their first child, was murdered.

The case, known throughout the world as part of the Manson Family murders, involved Sharon and four others who were at the Polanskis’ rented Beverly Hills home the night they were brutally murdered at the direction of Charles Mason. While the Family members were all sentenced to death after the murders, a brief change in California law regarding the death penalty allowed for their sentences to be converted to life in prison.

After the murder of her daughter, Doris Tate battled depression and did not speak of her daughter’s death for more than a decade. However, in 1982 upon hearing that one Manson Family member was collecting signatures toward parole, Doris rose to action and dedicated the rest of her life to working on crime victims’ rights. Among her many achievements, Doris was a member of the Parents of Murdered Children organization, the Victim Offender Reconciliation group and Justice for Homicide Victims group. She founded COVER, the Coalition on Victim's Equal Rights, served on the California State Advisory Committee on Correctional Services and worked actively to see the passage of Proposition 8, the Victim's Rights Bill in 1982. She was the first family member of a victim in California to ever speak at a parole hearing and make a victim's impact statement.

Doris’ support of victims extended beyond her public work as well, often attending parole hearings with other victims and helping with impact statements to be sent to the parole board. Believing in rehabilitation and seeing the need for it, she spoke with prisoners - pouring her heart out through her story in the hopes that after release they would not become re-offenders. For her selfless and tireless work and after the achievement of many awards, President George H. W. Bush designated Doris Tate one of the 1000 Points of Light.

To learn more about Doris Tate’s life and work, as well as her daughter Sharon, please visit online at and Official Sharon Tate on Facebook.


Doris Tate

Encouragement For All

“The most that I, or any person touched by violence, can hope for is acceptance of the pain. You never forget it, not even with the passage of time.”

– Doris Tate


NCVLI Conference

Did You Know?

Marsy's Law for All, and our Chairman Dr. Henry Nicholas, helped sponsor the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) annual Conference & Rights Reception this year’s theme was Imagine: Every Victim. Every Right. Every Case. Participants were dared to imagine a better world for victims. There were more than 300 attendees who hailed from 37 states, the District of Columbia, and six countries. To learn more about NCVLI and the conference, click here.


Former Federal Court Judge Paul Cassell

Q & A With a Leader for Victims' Rights

With Paul Cassell

How did you get involved in Crime Victims' Rights?

I have always had a strong interest in criminal law, because criminal law is so important to the proper functioning of our society. Without effective criminal law, people can’t be safe in their homes or when walking the streets. So, when I was in law school, I took all the criminal law courses that I could. And later, after I graduated from law school, I worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, both at “Main Justice” in Washington, D.C. focusing on criminal law issues and later as a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia handling federal criminal cases. But I always wanted to be a legal academic, so I ultimately became a law professor the University of Utah. I have been teaching a class on crime victims rights for more than ten years now, and my students tell me that it is one of the most interesting classes in law school.

What prompted you to start working on an amendment to the United States Constitution?

Our Constitution protects the rights for criminal defendants, which is as it should be. But I’ve always thought that it is important to recognize rights for crime victims in our nation’s fundamental charter. I began working on a federal constitutional amendment protecting victims of crime about two decades ago, and have continued working on it ever since.

You’ve interacted with a lot of victims over the years. Is there one victim who stands out in your mind who keeps you motivated to keep working so hard?

I’ve worked on many cases, but the child victims always have a special place in my heart. It is especially disturbing for me when I see child victim cases that take years and years to reach a resolution. That kind of time may be bearable for adults. But for a young child, every continued court hearing can lead to the passage of time that seems like a lifetime. It would be great if we could give victims all over the country — especially child victims — the right to a speedy trial, so that they are not forced to wait, sometimes seemingly forever, for their cases to go to trial.

How do you feel allowing victims representation will affect their rights moving forward?

Here in Utah, we have had a constitutional amendment protecting crime victims rights since 1994. And it’s made a big difference to the way that crime victims are treated in my home state. But rights without remedies are almost worse than no rights all. Here in Utah, we have struggled to provide legal representation for victims of crime. Most crime victims do not understand how the criminal justice process operates, so it can be hard for them to assert their rights without a lawyer. We need to find a way to expand legal services for crimes victims and make sure that the rights of crime victims are respected throughout the process.

What is, in your opinion, one important step supporters can take to help victims’ rights in their state?

If I could wave a magic wand and make things happen, I would like to see a Marsy's Law in place in all 50 states tomorrow! It won’t happen immediately. But it is great to see a few more states each year enacting a Marsy's Law to provide comprehensive and enforceable rights for crime victims. I feel like we are reaching a “tipping point” in this country, where enforceable crime victims rights are in place in so many states that they will just seem second nature — part of the natural architecture of our criminal justice system.

Julie Sanders Allison

Thank A Volunteer

Julie Sanders Allison

I am Julie Sanders Allison. I would first like to say thank you for allowing me to share my story. I hope that is it will somehow further the passing of Marsy's Law. We desperately need this law in my home state of Georgia.

On May 12, 1986, my father disappeared without a trace from East Point, Georgia while working as a long haul trucker. We had very few leads or evidence. The case was barely investigated and soon grew cold. I was just 13 years old. He was 39. His case was eventually pushed to the back burner until I began searching for answers.

Everywhere I turned, there were dead ends. I slowly continued my quest year after year and in 2008 we finally got a break in the case. 22 years, 5 months, and 10 days since the last time I saw my father. We learned that our nightmare was a reality. He had been brutally murdered and dismembered on that May night all those years ago. A victim of a pre-meditated armed robbery.

We were instantly thrust into a legal system that we knew nothing about. We were treated very well by our victim advocate and by the court system in the Appalachian Circuit. We were notified of every hearing and proceeding and were able to be present and present impact statements.

Throughout my ordeal, I met more and more people just like myself and I realized that many people were not being afforded the same rights as we were. I was confused because Georgia has a Crime Victim's Bill of Rights. As I began talking to others, I realized that the bill is not actually enforceable. It angered me that some of my closest friends were not notified of hearings, prison releases, or able to read impact statements at sentencing. I began learning more and more about Marsy's Law. One thing that stood out to me is how many states the Nicholas family has already been able to impact and how they used Marsalee's death in 1983 to help so many others.

Most everyone goes through life living in a bubble. No one ever thinks that they will be a victim. The court system is not only scary, but it is intimidating. The last thing a victim needs after an unthinkable tragedy, is to be re-victimized by a system that let them slip through the cracks. If I had to encourage anyone to support Marsy's Law, it would be by saying our voices matter. Our loved ones matter. This is why we need Marsy's Law for Georgia.

Kathleen Wrigley, Chairman of the South Dakota campaign and wife of the Lt. Governor of North Dakota, Drew Wrigley

Meet Your Marsy's Law Team

Kathleen Wrigley

What made you interested in working with Marsy's Law For North Dakota?

I come from a long line of law enforcement, but my first real introduction to the criminal justice system was when my brother, a 21-year-old rookie Philadelphia Police Officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1991. I’ve spent most of my adult professional life advocating for victims. The culmination of that experience and my personal journey with my brother’s murder heightened my interest in this statewide victims’ rights effort: Marsy's Law. When I was presented with the idea of Chairing Marsy's Law for North Dakota, I was immediately intrigued and started the vetting process.

Is there any experience you can/would be comfortable sharing about how Marsy's Law could’ve/has affected you personally?

From the start, I’ve been heartened by the level of support (publicly & privately) that my friends in law enforcement have committed. Some of the most trusted law enforcement in the state sat down with our committee to help craft the language so that it best suits our state and the statute on the books. Since law enforcement is most often the first step in the criminal justice process, their support and opinion and courage mattered immensely. Also, I have heard too many victims and their families tell us their stories of how they fell through the cracks of the system and felt muted by the process. One rape victim’s mother gave this example, she said: “It’s as if someone told me to make a cake, without any of the ingredients or a recipe.”

Tell us something fun we don’t know about you!

I love fitness and running. I teach group fitness classes. I’ve run 10 full marathons—all with my brother’s name on my race shirt—& fell in the 2005 Fargo Marathon at mile one! I had to pick myself up and keep running—just 25.2 miles to go! My friends gave me the nickname: Speedbump. I also ran the Boston Marathon last year (2015) in a tutu with the names of every fallen police officer from Philadelphia and North Dakota. In. A. Tutu.💙 Speedbump Wrigley runs for cops. In a tutu.

If you could explain why you personally think Marsy's Law is needed in North Dakota, what would you say?

I would tell your readers the story of the little four-year-old Internet pornography victim, whose family emotionally prepared this child and themselves for the start of the trial, after many continuances without notice to the victim’s family. After spending thousands of dollars, emotional energy, and changes to their schedules to be in the courtroom for the trial, the defense attorney asked for another continuance, simply because he said he was not ready. The Judge granted a continuance without ever considering the child victim or her family.

I would tell you about the young man who was shot and killed at a wedding reception. His family tried in vain to get information on the upcoming court appearances and or hearings for the accused defendant. This family has been frustrated and saddened by the lack of information and how they’ve been treated by the state’s attorney. I will tell you about the rape victim who was unaware of a change in venue for the trial of the accused, or the plea agreement offered by the state’s attorney.

These are all recent North Dakota cases. Yes. Victims in North Dakota deserve their rights and protections elevated to the constitutional level. When I began the vetting process, I wasn’t so sure North Dakota needed Marsy's Law. The more I listen to victims’ stories, the more I’m convinced this initiated measure is necessary and uphold our values. To read the full interview with Kathleen Wrigley, please click here.

Jon Fleischman

Senior Advisor, Marsy's Law for All

It is important to remember why this cause is so critical. Victims of crime are already at their most vulnerable as they are unwillingly thrust into the criminal justice system – it is unconscionable that many are re-victimized by a system that does not treat them with dignity and respect. While those accused of committing crimes are guaranteed important rights in both the federal and in state constitutions, their victims are too often treated as secondclass citizens. In many states, victims have no rights, and in other states, victims have been afforded rights but because of lack of enforceability, these rights are often disregarded. When Marsy Nicholas was murdered, her family was forced to deal with a system that saw them revictimized. Our Marsy's Law For All Chairman, Dr. Henry Nicholas – Marsy's brother – is leading this national campaign to elevate the rights of crime victims to a constitutional level, and provide a means of enforcing those rights.

As we head into the Summer it’s an exciting time for our efforts. In just a few months voters in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota will have a chance to vote on Marsy's Law! Those campaigns are going well – we have enjoyed broad support, and our teams have been doing a great job continuing to build on it, and to take our case to voters!

In Nevada and in Kentucky we are gearing up for what will be an important Fall push in advance of their next legislative sessions, where we are very optimistic! And we are mid-stream on ten different state assessments. Two are current-engagement states where we came up short – Georgia and Hawaii. Also, Dr. Nicholas has approved assessments for potential new activities in eight new states as well! We look forward to making some announcement later in the summer when these are completed!

Our request of you is to get involved! Spread the word! Follow us on Facebookand Twitter,and share what we are doing – and make sure you check out our website at

After submitting over 44,000 signatures of support to the Secretary of State’s office, Marsy's Law For North Dakota is officially on the November 2016 ballot! A measure number will be given after July 11th, so please stay tuned for more information on this pivotal step forward for victims’ rights in North Dakota.