Chicago Tribune, "Crime victims seek more say in judicial process"

Crime victims in Illinois, aggressively advocating for enforceable rights in the justice system, are proposing their own version of Marsy's Law, the Chicago Tribune reports. The newspaper says the Illinois Constitution provides 10 rights for crime victims--including that they be treated with respect, given notice of court hearings and be allowed to attend trials and present victim-impact statements--but do not include a mechanism for appeal. Now the Illinois Coalition for Enforceable Victims Rights and other advocates want to amend the state's constitution. According to the newspaper, they are joining "a national push to amend state constitutions and give teeth to statutes already on the books. - HTN Foundation

Crime victims seek more say in judicial process

By Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune reporter

November 7, 2011

Years after her 11-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted, Denise Rotheimer wants the right to sue the Lake County prosecutors who sent the offender to jail, saying they defamed her child by telling the judge that the girl "had issues."

In Cook County, Maria Ramirez believes prosecutors violated her rights by refusing to let her file a complaint after she was threatened by relatives of a juvenile charged with her son's 2006 murder.

Both women found that — after floundering through a complex criminal justice system that critics say is weighted toward ensuring the rights of the accused — their rights as crime victims were unenforceable.

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