[Madison, Wis.] – In case you missed it, survivors of crime testified in favor of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan legislation to ensure equal rights for crime victims recently, sharing their stories with lawmakers in the state Capitol.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other news outlets covered the testimony, which also included Attorney General Brad Schimel, bill sponsors State Sen. Van Wanggaard and State Rep. Todd Novak, and law enforcement from across the state.
You can read the Journal Sentinel’s coverage here, or find excerpts below:
Wisconsin lawmakers take testimony on victim rights bill
By Lillian Price
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, June 15
MADISON – Wisconsin would rewrite its constitution to better protect crime victims under legislation debated Thursday.
State Attorney General Brad Schimel backed the legislation in testimony to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.
“The passage of this amendment will send the message to crime victims that the criminal justice system will be a safe place for them to seek services and assert their rights,” Schimel said. “We believe justice isn’t served until crime victims are.”
Wisconsin already has strong rights for crime victims written into state law, but the proposal would elevate and strengthen those protections by putting them into the state’s charter. The legislation would allow victims to decline to provide evidence to the defense and refuse to be interviewed by the attorneys for the accused.
Teri Jendusa Nicolai, a supporter of the proposal and crime victim who was kidnapped, beaten and left for dead by her ex-husband, said the argument is really about whether to give as many “teeth” and rights to victims as criminals have. …
The proposal would only apply to criminal cases, not civil. It would also add to current law by extending a victim’s right to attend all of their accused’s hearings.
The proposal is named “Marsy’s law” after Marsy Nicholas, a California woman who was killed by her former boyfriend in 1983. Wisconsin could be the sixth state to adopt the proposal.
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.