What They’re Saying: Marsy’s Law For Wisconsin Fights For Equal Rights For Crime Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2017

Contact: Brian Reisinger

715-579-9679

breisinger@hilltopstrategiesllc.com

What They’re Saying: Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Fights for Equal Rights for Crime Victims

In statewide announcement tour, Attorney General, legislators, survivors, victim advocates, and law enforcement join in calling for constitutional amendment

[Madison, Wis.] – Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin kicked off the fight for equal rights for crime victims recently, unveiling a constitutional amendment to update our state Constitution and going on a statewide tour that included Attorney General Brad Schimel, State Sen. Van Wanggaard, State Rep. Todd Novak, survivors of crime, victim advocates, and law enforcement.

The stories of survivors, unveiling of the amendment, and statewide advertising campaign – including digital ads and billboards – generated TV, print, and online coverage across Wisconsin. It also highlighted the broad coalition of supporters already coming out in favor of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin as we fight to build upon our state’s proud tradition of leading on victims’ rights.

Check out what they’re saying:

From WTMJ NBC News in Milwaukee:  “The proposal in Wisconsin, authored by Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) calls for specific rights from crime victims, already written into state law, to be strengthened by adding them to the Wisconsin Constitution. … ‘Constitutional rights of a defendant always trump a statutory right we create for victims,’ Schimel said Tuesday at a news conference at the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee. ‘So by making a victims’ rights constitutional, they’re equal in the courtroom when a judge has to make a decision.’” 

From the Racine Journal Times: “A proposed constitutional amendment with a big Racine County backing was unveiled Tuesday giving crime victims a host of rights, including the right to have their personal information sealed in police records and allow them to speak out at more court proceedings. ‘Our focus needs to be on caring for and protecting … victims, not coddling criminals,’ Wanggaard, R-Racine, said in a news release.”

From Wisconsin Public Radio: “’This constitutional amendment will update our constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims that are clear, enforceable and permanent,’ Schimel said in a prepared statement. Many of the proposed rights are already state law, but advocates say they should have the legal weight of being included in the constitution. Christina Traub, who was the victim of a violent crime in 2015, said she wanted the same rights her attacker had in court. ‘This whole thing that was happening to me, it felt like I wasn’t part of it,’ Traub said.”

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, a victim of an extreme domestic violence attack in Racine in 2004, spoke at Schimel’s news conference. … ‘I was ambushed, beaten with a baseball bat, suffocated, strangled, thrown into a garbage can and taken to die in a freezing storage unit,’ she said. Racine County authorities found and rescued her after 21 hours, she said. She lost all of her toes to frostbite and lost the unborn baby she was carrying. She said the experience taught her the importance of victims’ rights issues.”

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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.

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin can be found on our website, Twitter, and Facebook.