MADISON – Wisconsin’s executive residence is sporting purple lights in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), an annual observance led by the U.S. Office of Justice Programs. The 2018 theme—Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims—aims to spread awareness of the importance of inclusion in victim services. 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.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shared his support via social media Monday evening: “The executive residence has been lit purple today in honor of National Crime Victims Rights Week. I’m proud of Wisconsin’s history of protecting victims’ rights and glad to support Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin in their efforts to strengthen those rights.”
Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin has garnered extensive support throughout the state with thousands of signatories on the petition backing the effort, broad bipartisan support in the legislature, and more than 350 key endorsements including nearly 200 chiefs of police, an overwhelming majority of the state’s sheriffs, a number of victim advocacy groups, and an impressive array of Wisconsin’s prominent law enforcement organizations.
“I’m so grateful to see this show of support for our state’s crime victims from Wisconsin’s executive residence,” said Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin State Chair Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, a survivor of a brutal attack by her ex-husband and one of the state’s most prominent victims’ rights advocates. “As someone who has experienced firsthand the trauma of being a victim of violent crime, I know why giving crime victims equal rights is so important. I’m proud that Wisconsin’s leaders are continuing our state’s tradition of leading on this issue.”
Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, introduced as Assembly Joint Resolution 47/Senate Joint Resolution 53, is authored by Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). With broad support from lawmakers of both parties, the legislation passed through the State Senate and Assembly in 2017, and will now move forward to second consideration in the next legislative session.
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 Wisconsin@marsyslaw.us.