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Marsy's Law would grant new laws for crime victims

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- We all know someone that has been impacted by violent crimes.Whether it's losing a loved one or becoming a victim yourself, it leads to a lengthy process through the court system that often leaves people feeling lost.But supporters of a state question are fighting to give victims a voice in court.

State Question 794, also known as Marsy's Law, would give crime victims the same rights as people accused of crimes. It will go to a vote of the people next year.Supporters made a stop in Lawton today to spread the word about why they say the law is needed.

In 2015 there were more than 16,000 violent crimes committed in Oklahoma. Kim Moyer, the director for Marsy's Law in Oklahoma, said Oklahoma is one of fifteen states that does not have laws that guarantee the rights of victims.


"As long as people who are accused of crimes have their rights protected by the constitution but crime victims rights are not protected by the constitution then they don't have equal standing and so that's why we are working to do this and make this a level playing field so that crime victims rights are equal with those of people who are accused of the crimes against them," said Moyer.

If Marsy's Law is passed there are a list of rights that crime victims would have. One is the notification of their rights.

"There are a lot of crime victims in our state that when you are going through something dramatic like that they just don't understand, they don't know what to do next. They don't know how to proceed, they don't know where we all fit into this equation," said Moyer.

Another is access to the proceedings, understanding when you have a voice, and where you can take part in the criminal justice system.

"So it would basically mean that a judge during proceedings would actually ask for the input of crime victims and they would have to weight that input equally during the proceedings when they are making decisions about how to proceed in a case," said Moyer.

The last is restitution, Moyer said most victims don't realize they have process and funding in place to help repay some of the expenses.

"So whether its unpaid medical bills or insurance deductibles related to a DUI accident thatch a crime there are ways you can apply and receive help and we want to make sure crime victims in the state are aware of those systems in place," said Moyer.

At Thursday's campaign launch, Moyer had Angela Wiles as a guest speaker. Back in 2013 Angela Wiles 14-year old daughter, Alyssa Wiles was murdered by her an ex-boyfriend in Duncan. She shared her story about the struggles her family faced going through the judicial  system. She said Marsy's law means a lot to her.

"Marsy's law is a constitutional right that would have allowed us to know the steps of the process and be aware of what's going to happen in the future," said Wiles.

The campaign for Marsy's Law launched back in April and Moyer says it already has strong support from the District Attorney's Council, The Oklahoma Sheriff's Association, and The Oklahoma Chiefs of Police.District Attorney Jason Hicks was also a guest speaker and says Marsy's Law will ensure that a victim's voice is heard inside the court room.

"In my experience I have seen many, many times that victims are left out of the process, and they don't feel like their voice is equal," said Hicks.

Marsy's Law will be on the general election ballot in November of 2018. Moyer said for the next 14 months, she is going to speak to survivors, district attorneys and law enforcement to spread the word about the initiative.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved. 

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