Written by: Ashley Hinson and Marti Anderson
A brave woman stood before a crowd at the Iowa Capitol recently. Her hands slightly shaking, she showed no fear as she testified before a legislative subcommittee recounting the night she was viciously assaulted by someone she loved, someone she trusted.
Iowa’s victims’ rights amendment grants equal rights under the constitution. It does not take away any rights from the accused.
The Iowa judicial system is revictimizing individuals. Constitutional rights for crime victims would guarantee that no future judge could strip anyone of their rights.
Too often, crime victims in Iowa fall through the cracks. They aren’t notified of what’s going on in the judicial process and are left without a voice.
After Shal-Marie was beaten by her husband, she was never notified of any court dates and never told what would happen next. She was left in the dark.
Reuben Neff ran for county attorney because he saw victims who were not being kept informed.
“The worst day of my life wasn’t the day I was sexually assaulted, it was the day I had to be deposed.”
Leigh and Audrey weren’t informed that the man who raped and tried to murder them was out of prison. They were told that “his rights matter more than yours.”
Anyone who has ever watched a television crime drama can probably recite some or all of the rights that a criminal defendant has in court — the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to be presumed innocent.
But what about rights for the victim of the crime? Iowans are talking right now about this idea. If you are the victim of a crime, should our state constitution protect your rights while it also protects the rights of the criminal defendant?