As Courts Open, Victims Must Be Included
For nearly four months, courthouses across Iowa have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent news reports indicate a plan for some courts to resume hearing cases beginning in July, but continuing to restrict in-person hearings.
We know the COVID pandemic has certainly changed the way we live our lives, but the courts ABSOLUTELY MUST include victims in proceedings, even if the circumstances make it difficult.
As the law stands now, Iowans who become the victim of a crime have no constitutional right to be notified of hearings or proceedings. Certainly, an amendment to our state’s constitution would remedy this problem in the future, and give victims equal access to justice in our courts.
Currently, Iowa crime victims are not provided enforceable rights in the state’s constitution. Marsy’s Law for Iowa is pushing for rights to be added, including things like:
The right to be informed;
The right to be notified, present and heard at court proceedings;
The right to restitution;
The right to reasonable protection from the accused;
And the right to enforce these rights in the criminal justice process.