IL VRA
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Join Our Campaign to Revise the Illinois Victims Rights Amendment

Help Make Minor Revisions to the Victims Rights Amendment to the Illinois Constitution
to Make Victims Rights in Illinois Enforceable!

HELP PASS HJRCA 19

VIEW A FACT SHEET

Update May 2010 - end of session: A partisan battle over redistricting the state of Illinois after this year's Census has de-railed every single constitutional amendment proposal in Springfield, including our effort to make victims rights enforceable. We are told that since we have such broad-based and bi-partisan support for this effort, that in the year 2012 where redistricting will not be an issue, we should see clear sailing to the general election ballot that fall. We look forward to regrouping with everyone in 2012 on this important initiative. Contact us with any questions.

Update March 11, 2010 - The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed out of committee our HJRCA 19, a Constitutional Amendment to make our current victims rights actually enforceable in Illinois. We are incredibly grateful to all our supporters and partners who have worked so hard and who clearly care so very much about what happens to victims of crime in Illinois:

1. Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office, especially Cindy Hora, the state's victim advocate
2. Our bi-partisan and growing list of Legislative Co-Sponsors:  Rep. Lou Lang - Randy Ramey, Jr. - Dennis M. Reboletti - Michael P. McAuliffe - Elizabeth Coulson, Naomi D. Jakobsson, Lisa M. Dugan, Mike Boland, Jim Sacia, Ronald A. Wait and Esther Golar
3. The amazing women advocates at the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA)
4. Our caring and supportive partner organizations

We have worked hard these last few months to meet with all stakeholders in this process, to compromise to alleviate concerns of those concerned primarily with the rights of the accused, to refine the language over and over, and to build a broad statewide partnership to promote the necessity and vitality of this reform. We fully expect with continued hard work that we will see this amendment on the November 2010 fall election ballot statewide and that the good citizens of Illinois will overwhelmingly pass this important measure to protect victims of crime as they navigate the criminal justice system.

Contact us to join the effort or to ask questions

DOWNLOAD PROPOSED WORDING CHANGES SUBMITTED TO THE LEGISLATURE

The current wording of victims rights in the Illinois Constitution, Section 8.1, is as follows:

SECTION 8.1.  CRIME VICTIM'S RIGHTS
    (a)  Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law:
         (1)  The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
         (2)  The right to notification of court proceedings.
         (3)  The right to communicate with the prosecution.
         (4)  The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
         (5)  The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.
         (6)  The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused.
         (7)  The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
         (8)  The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial.
         (9)  The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim's choice.
         (10)  The right to restitution.

And while we are grateful that we like 33 other US States have constitutionally protected victims rights, the wording as "provided by law" means that unless there are statutes to make the rights enforceable, there is often no enforceability with these rights.

For too many victims, too much of the time, the rights might as well not even exist for all the good it does a victim when they are not enforced and nothing the victim does matters.

We have joined a national campaign to make all victims rights in the United States ENFORCEABLE.

Key changes we are proposing:

1. Appellate relief for victims rights denied during trial phase
2. Victims' Rights protected no matter the age or condition mentally of the offender
3. Eliminate need for statutory language to define application of the rights, making the rights self-enforcing.
4. Give victims the right to an attorney of their own.

Click here to learn more about efforts at amending the Federal Constitution. And read about the 9 classical victims rights, especially ENFORCEABILTY here at the NCVC's great web resource for victims, www.VictimLaw.org

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS HAVE ALREADY JOINED OUR CAMPAIGN and send us your ideas and your support and we will add you to the list of those who support this agenda.

Lots more to come in the days ahead!

Part of this effort will be to ask the Illinois Legislature to form a victims rights caucus, as other states and the US Congress currently have. Help out by asking your state Senator or Rep to join!