Highlight the Right
The right to timely disposition of the case and proceedings free from unreasonable delay
“Justice delayed, is justice denied” – a legal maxim older than our nation and the defining principle behind a defendant’s 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial.[i] The interests of swift justice, though, are not solely limited to the defendant. As the Supreme Court has noted, the public has some interest in proceedings that continue without untimely delay[ii] and for the victim long, drawn-out delays in the criminal justice process can cause serious mental health and financial ramifications.[iii] Marsy’s Law for Iowa includes the right to timely disposition of the case and proceedings free from unreasonable delay which will provide the victim with a meaningful right to object to unreasonable delays and trial continuances.
The right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse
The right to reasonable protection from the accused or convicted
The right to have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in setting conditions of release or transfer
Protecting ourselves and our family after a violent and traumatizing experience is at the core of our humanity. But when victims of crime are thrust into a confusing, sometimes threatening and arduous criminal justice system, the ability to secure meaningful protection for themselves and their families is lacking in our Iowa laws. Iowa currently has no constitutional rights for victims of crime and the statutory rights that do exist[i] to protect a victim against further harm lack any true mechanism for enforcement. These inadequate protections act as false hope for victims turning to the government for support and protection as they seek justice for their trauma.
The right to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness during all phases of the criminal justice process
Participation in the process of government is at the root of our democracy, yet victims of crime in Iowa currently have no meaningful participatory rights in the government process which is designed to seek justice for the trauma that they have endured. They are forced to act as a witness to their own trauma while their dignity is slowly chipped away. They are reminded again and again to remain on the sidelines while the government seeks justice for the public, but not given the opportunity to have their rights considered in that justice being sought. Victims of crime deserve to have their rights considered in the criminal justice system and that is exactly what a right to fairness, dignity and respect would afford them.
The right to full and timely restitution paid to the victim first and in full before any government fees or costs
The right, upon request, to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of all proceedings involving the criminal offense
The right, upon request, to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any release, transfer, or escape of the accused or convicted