Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Constitutional amendment on victims’ rights passes Ill. Senate - But you still can't carry a gun to NOT make you a victim
SPRINGFIELD — A push to change the state Constitution and give victims of violent crimes and their families new legal standing overwhelmingly passed the Illinois Senate Wednesday and could wind up going before voters this fall.
The measure known as Marsy’s Law, named after a California murder victim, advanced out of the Senate by a 55-1 vote and now moves to the House, which approved an earlier version of the proposed constitutional amendment.
Under the plan, victims of violent crimes and the families of murder victims or minors would be guaranteed the right to be informed about court proceedings, to make victim-impact statements during sentencing, to get “timely” notification when prosecutors are seeking a plea deal and to have their safety considered at bail hearings, among other things.
The state Constitution now contains victim-rights language, but there is no mechanism by which victims or their families can enforce those rights before, during or after trials by seeking relief from the courts.
“What this constitutional amendment does is ensure that those who have been victims of molestation, of rape, whose family members have been murdered, will now be confident their rights can, in fact, be enforced, that their right to have a voice and to be informed of what’s happening in trial proceedings are enforceable,” said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the legislation’s chief Senate sponsor.
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