University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul Cassell traveled to Madison, Wisconsin this week to testify before a joint legislative committee regarding Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin — a proposed amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution that would protect crime victims’ rights.
Cassell has testified before the Idaho and Nevada legislatures earlier this year in support of similar measures there. Marsy’s law for Wisconsin would enshrine in the Wisconsin constitution protection for crime victims’ rights to speak at court hearings, to confer with prosecutors, and to obtain full restitution from convicted defendants. The measure has been endorsed by numerous crime victims’ organizations, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association, and other groups and individuals concerned about the treatment of crime victims in the Wisconsin criminal justice process.
Wisconsin lawmakers Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, announced on Tuesday their plans to introduce a Wisconsin version of Marsy’s Law, with strong backing from Attorney General Brad Schimel, members of law enforcement and victims of violent crime. The proposal also has support from the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and several shelters and victim advocacy groups.
The proposed constitutional amendment is part of a national effort, with versions on the books in California, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota and up for consideration in more states.