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Do Victims’ Rights Violate A Defendant’s Right to Confrontation?

Opponents of victims’ rights love to claim that giving a victim the right to participate in the criminal justice process will somehow violate a defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and confrontation found in the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution. The argument is compelling, because it seems simple on its face to anyone with a general understanding of constitutional rights, but the interpretation of the 6th Amendment is not that simple. As a member of the Bill of Rights, the 6th Amendment has been around since the ratification of our constitution, making it ripe for over 230 years of judicial interpretation. It has undergone intense judicial review, which has concluded indisputably that the 6th Amendment rights to due process and confrontation are not without restriction. Defendants’ rights are not absolute, they must be balanced with the rights held by all parties and participants in court. It is the literal reason we have an existing appellate court system in this country – to determine the proper balance of rights.

 

 

Iowa Can Do Better for Black Citizens

 

February is Black History Month and we want to talk about exactly how Iowa can do better for its Black citizens.

 

 

Survivor Mission

They're on a mission and they won't stop until they're successful. 

 

You might remember Leigh and Audrey. These two have been with us from the very beginning. Their story is one that is so awful, it's almost unbelievable. And while it's certainly hard for them to talk about, they won't be silenced. In their minds, if they can prevent even one Iowan from going through what they did, it will have been worth it. 

 

So they're at it again, and this time they shared their story with WHO-TV in Des Moines. 

 

 

Pass Marsy's Law

 

Thanks to our survivor family member, Katie for her recent letter to the editor in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier. If you would like to get involved in our coalition, please contact Sydney at [email protected] 

 

LETTER: Crime victims deserve equal rights

Dear Editor,

My brother, Jeremy Allen, was shot and killed by Michael Coffman at the Ottumwa High School on July 25, 1994. At the time, Coffmann was 16, almost 17, with a criminal background of violence. He was tried as an adult because he had already been through the juvenile system and they could no longer help him.

 

 

Marsy’s Law for Iowa Features “Highlight the Right” Campaign

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (Jan. 19, 2021) —For the past two months, Marsy’s Law for Iowa has engaged in a “Highlight the Right” campaign, which utilizes social media, informative videos and live discussions to outline the proposal for a crime victim rights amendment to the state constitution.

 

 

Wholeheartedly Support

I have been in law enforcement for 30 years, and I have seen firsthand how the victims of violent crimes have so much trauma from the incident, that they need to have rights equal to the offender. For this reason, and many others, I support Marsy’s Law for Iowa and encourage the Iowa Legislature to move forward on this issue.

 

Marsy’s Law for Iowa would provide constitutional protections for crime victims in our state – things like the right to be notified of the status of the offender, the right to restitution, the right to be involved in court proceedings, among other things. Marsys’ Law would elevate these rights and also ensure they could never be stripped down or changed depending on who is in charge at the state capitol.

 

We must make sure that should an innocent person become the victim of a crime they know that they will be treated with dignity, respect and fairness when they are thrown into the criminal justice system, processing the most traumatic incident of their life.

 

I wholeheartedly support Marsy’s Law.  

Protecting and Serving

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down operations for many organizations around the state, the Marsy’s Law for Iowa law enforcement coalition has been expanding.  

 

Over the spring, summer and fall, our law enforcement coalition has added even more key, influential voices who are speaking up for victims and stand ready to help move legislation forward during the 2021 session.

 

Highlight the Right: Safety

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.

 

Capitol Chat with Rep. Marti Anderson

The 2021 Legislative Session is quickly approaching, and we want to continue highlighting the work we've been doing over the past several months to remind legislators that the current law on the books is not adequate for survivors of crimes.