Treye's Life Was Cut Short
The Blythe Family continues to use their survivor voices for positive change. Dustin Blythe recently wrote the following opinion piece which ran in the Iowa Falls Times Citizen about his son, Treye. Thank you to Dustin and all of Treye's friends and family for the work they do in Treye's name.
April 7 – 13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week across the country. This is a time to raise awareness for victims’ services and promote laws that are designed to protect and help victims of crime.
On Feb. 19 of this year, my son Treye would have turned 31. Instead, his life was cut short in 2006 when he was 18 years old. Treye was murdered in Cedar Falls coming to the aid of someone he barely knew.
Treye’s family and friends woke up to our worst nightmare. On top of it all, we were thrust into a system where the scales are tipped in favor of the accused. Because of this experience, I know how important it is for the justice system to treat victims and accused criminals equally, which is why I support constitutional rights for crime victims.
Marsy’s Law is a proposed amendment to Iowa’s constitution to give victims of crime equality in our state’s justice system. Commonsense provisions such as providing notice of all proceedings; allowing victims to be present at trial; to be present and heard in any proceeding involving a release, sentencing or parole; notice of any release or escape of the defendant and the right to restitution. These things were not always afforded to our family as we navigated the justice system.
Our constitution specifies rights for the accused—things like the right to remain silent or the right to an attorney. Yet rights are not outlined for victims, and they need to be.
I would never wish for anyone to experience what our family and friends have gone through. This National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and every week, we must recognize that Iowa crime victims are innocent and deserve basic protections in our state’s constitution.