Oct. 19 event will raise money and awareness as work continues to amend state Constitution and ensure equal rights for crime victims
[Madison, Wis.] – Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin today announced that it is now the top sponsor of the “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event on Oct. 19 in Green Bay, which raises awareness and money to fight domestic violence and sexual assault in a unique way – by having participants, including men, walk a mile in high heels to show their support for victims of abuse. This year, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin will be the “high heel’d sponsor” of the event, part of its broader organizing efforts in Green Bay and across the state as it fights to update our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims.
“This partnership with local victims’ advocates is exactly what Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is all about – standing up for survivors and fighting to keep them safe,” said Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, a survivor of a brutal attack by her ex-husband and one of the state’s most prominent victims’ rights advocates. “I’d like to thank Golden House and Sexual Assault Center of Family Services and all of their partners for the work they do in the Green Bay area, and ask that everyone across Wisconsin join in supporting this event, as well as our efforts to ensure equal rights for crime victims in our state.”
You can find more information on the Oct. 19 event here. Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, introduced as Assembly Joint Resolution 47/Senate Joint Resolution 53, is authored by Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). Green Bay-area co-sponsors of the bill are State Senators Rob Cowles, Dave Hansen and Frank Lasee and State Representatives Andre Jacque, David Steffen, John Macco and Joel Kitchens. With a broad and growing bipartisan statewide coalition supporting it, the legislation has passed key committees in both the State Senate and State Assembly, and is now awaiting votes by both full chambers of the Legislature.
You can read Teri’s story of survival here, and find facts on Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan legislation below:
· Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin follows a proud tradition in our state of protecting victims’ rights, unlike many other states. Wisconsin already has a constitutional amendment on victims’ rights that passed in 1993, and was the first state in the nation to pass a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. The state also is recognized as having some of the strongest statutory rights for victims in the country. This means the changes we are proposing are about making sure victims’ rights are truly equal alongside the constitutional rights of the accused – nothing more, nothing less.
· Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin strengthens rights that already exist in Wisconsin. The proposed amendment would do two things: Elevate certain rights currently under state statute to be fully constitutional rights, and strengthen other rights that are already part of the Constitution. An example of a right that is the law under state statute but needs to be elevated to the Constitution is the right to put victim restitution payments ahead of any dollars owed to the government. An example of a current constitutional right that needs clarification is the right to be heard throughout the legal process, including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon – as opposed to just disposition.
· Nearly 80 percent of Wisconsinites support updating our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims. A poll of Wisconsinites found that nearly 80 percent support updating our state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims. More than 80 percent support a victim’s right to speak up at more points in the criminal justice process, and 68 percent said they were “more likely” to support a state legislative candidate who supported Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. The bipartisan legislation must be passed in the state Legislature twice, then by voters at the ballot box.
About Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin
Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is a grassroots coalition that has developed a unique proposal to give victims of crime equal rights in our state, building on Wisconsin’s laws and history of leading on this issue. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.
Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email Wisconsin@marsyslaw.us.