ICYMI: Marsy’s Law For Wisconsin Intern Recognized for Advocacy Work


January 16, 2018

Contact: Myranda Tanck

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ICYMI: Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Intern Recognized for Advocacy Work

Janel Riegleman, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Communications Intern, featured for her work advocating for victims’ rights

MADISON In case you missed it, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Communications Intern Janel Riegleman was recently recognized for her work advocating for victims rights. The Oconomowoc native had the opportunity to share her story with her local paper for an extensive feature on Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan effort to update the state constitution to strengthen victims’ rights.

You can read the full story in the Waukesha Freeman from January 10 and the Oconomowoc Enterprise from January 11, or find excerpts below:

Oconomowoc native explores advocacy with Marsy’s Law

By Hannah Weikel

Waukesha Freeman

January 10, 2018

MADISON — Janel Riegleman always told herself that her first college internship would be with a group she felt a deep connection with, so when a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumna she respected told her about an organization called Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin that was looking for a communications intern, Riegleman thought it was perfect for her.

Marsy’s Law is relatively new in Wisconsin — the state chapter formed in April 2017 — though the inspiration for the national movement for victim advocacy sprang from a 1983 murder case in California of Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas. California became the first state to enumerate victim rights in its constitution, though several states are making efforts to follow suit.

Riegleman said she wasn’t familiar with Marsy’s Law when she was first told about the internship opportunity last spring, so she Googled it.

“It took me zero seconds to get behind the issue, which is important to me. I want to work for things that I wholeheartedly believe in and thankfully Marsy’s Law really aligned with my beliefs,” she said. “I started telling my friends and family about this awesome opportunity for my personal growth and for the state of Wisconsin.” …

So far, more than 200 state officials, lawmakers, and law enforcement agencies have expressed their support for Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, including Attorney General Brad Schimel; Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin; Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson; Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinski and Pewaukee Police Chief Jay Iding…

Riegleman is back at UW-Eau Claire for her junior year, but has become so involved with Marsy’s Law that she’s making great efforts to share its message with the student body. “When I came back from the summer internship I had learned so much about Marsy’s Law and I really valued telling people,” she said. “And then people started coming to me asking questions. It was kind of like the firework effect. I told one person and then they would tell another person and they would ask me questions about it … I think it’s interesting to see people’s reactions to such a great movement.” 



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.