Letters to the Editor

Now is the time for Marsy's Law

Right now in Iowa, victims have no rights protected in the Constitution, even though offenders have many constitutional rights. To me, that is unfair. Crime victims deserve to have a bill of rights that’s protected and ensures that they’re treated with respect in the eyes of the law. That is why I am in favor of Marsy’s Law for Iowa.

This is an effort to include a victims’ bill of rights in the Iowa Constitution, including the right to be treated with fairness and dignity; the right to be treated with respect for the victim’s safety and privacy; the right to be notified, present and heard at legal proceedings; the right to notice of release or escape of the offender; and the right to restitution. These are common-sense measures that already exist in our laws, but are not protected in our Constitution, which is Iowa’s basic statement of our values. If we do not value victims, what does that say about us?

I care so passionately about this issue because I know what it’s like to survive a violent crime. This is personal for me and it should be personal for us all: nearly 9,000 Iowans were victims of crime in 2015 alone. I can assure you, no one decides to be the victim of a crime — it can happen to anyone at any time.

It’s time for our legislators to prioritize victims’ rights in our state constitution. I urge them to pass Marsy’s Law before session ends.

Cassie Gatewood

Cedar Rapids

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