[Madison, Wis.] – Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin today launched a statewide digital ad campaign to urge legislative support for AJR 47/SJR 53, which would update our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for victims of crime. The ad features domestic abuse survivor Christina Traub and reads, “Crime victims like Christina go through hell,” then urges viewers to reach out to their lawmakers.
Christina has long been an outspoken proponent for Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin and has pushed to encourage legislative support for the measure. In a column published by the Wisconsin State Journal, Christina wrote of her experience as a crime victim, “My life became an instant nightmare, and I was thrown into a legal process that I had no prior knowledge of… I felt as if, despite the fact that this process was initiated by a violent act that affected me, I was not an important part of that process.”
Variations of the ad will feature Wisconsin legislators and encourage viewers to contact their local representative and urge them to support the bill. The ads will be targeted to key districts throughout Wisconsin ahead of upcoming floor periods in the Senate and Assembly.
You can read more on Christina’s story of survival here and 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. An example of a right that is the law under state statute but needs to be elevated to the Constitution is the right to put victim restitution payments ahead of any dollars owed to the government. An example of a current constitutional right that needs clarification is the right to be heard throughout the legal process, including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon – as opposed to just disposition.
- 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].