Letter to the Editor
2842 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Dear Drake Students,
Marsy Nicholas died after being stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend around the age of 19. The event was a horrendous crime that a freshman in college should have never have been a victim of. I’m currently a freshman at Drake University, which means I’m the same age as Marsy when she was killed.
When putting myself in the shoes of Marsy’s family, who saw her perpetrator after he was released on bail in a grocery store without informing Marsy’s family, I can’t imagine the trauma they felt. I have read many other stories of unfair outcomes for crime victims. Marsy’s Law website states, “No murderer should be afforded more rights than the victim’s family.” It’s absolutely ridiculous that this matter is even getting debated.
Iowa’s constitution establishes rights of criminal defendants, but does not have a bill of rights for victims of crime. This means that victims’ rights are only protected at the statutory level, whereas the accused are protected at the constitutional level. Currently, Iowa is one out of 15 states without a victim’s bill of rights in our constitution. Iowa does have Code 915 in place, but in the eyes of the court, the law isn’t as effective as constitutional rights.
Courts can currently all but ignore the code and bypass the protections that crime victims have without ramifications. This is why Marsy’s Law is necessary in Iowa. I urge you to contact your legislators and let them know you support a victims’ bill of rights.
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