By Karen Stokes
On April 7, 2020, Wisconsin voters have an opportunity to use their voice to support equal rights for victims, survivors and their families by voting “yes” for the Marsy’s Law Crime Victims’ Rights Amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution.
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 Nicholas’ mother and brother, Dr. 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 Nicholas’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Henry Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights according to equalrightsforwi.com.
Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin ensures that victims of crime have enforceable rights throughout the criminal justice process, just as accused people do.
An information session at the Sherman Phoenix and organized by Simon Warren, LaVerne Badger and Natalie Hayden from “Exposed: The Podcast” offered voters a chance to learn more about Marsy’s Law and to ask questions of a panel consisting of government officials, advocates and abuse survivors.
Panel members included, State Rep Jason Fields, State Rep David Crowley, author LaVerne Badger, Simon Warren and Natalie Hayden, Vice Chair of the City of Milwaukee Executive Commissioner of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Jennifer Moston.
Moston, an abuse survivor, shared a story of the domestic violence she endured from her now ex-husband and the danger that she and her young son experienced. She called the police after a violent episode and the police interviewed her and her husband in the same room.
“We need the law and officials to be educated and we need to educate the guardians ad litem on the effects of domestic violence on children,” Moston said.
There are approximately 400 bipartisan endorsements for Marsy’s Law in Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee Chapter NAACP, Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis and Sojourner Family Peace Center.
Warren, one of the organizers of the event on Saturday said that there will be additional information sessions on Marsy’s Law this month prior to the April 7 election.
A “yes” vote will support this measure to add specific rights of crime victims, to the Wisconsin Constitution.
A “no” vote opposes this measure to add specific rights of crime victims to the state constitution beyond those found in Section 9m of Article I of the Wisconsin Constitution.
“Unfortunately, everybody has a family member who has gone through some violence and they deserve to be protected, that’s why people should vote ‘Yes’,” Warren said.
Badger wanted to make clear to voters that the amendment is on the backside of the ballot so voters need to “flip the ballot”.
On April 7, don’t forget to “flip the ballot” and let your voice be heard on victim rights.