DES MOINES, Iowa -- Crime victims gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday to urge lawmakers not to forget them this session.
The group is pushing for legislators to pass Marsy's Law in Iowa. They want to make a change to Iowa's constitution to provide guarantees of protection for crime victims, and say criminals are given more protections under the law than victims. Marsy's Law would require notification to crime victims and their families about changes in an offender's status and take their concerns into consideration when setting court dates.
Linda Chapman lost her daughter Nikki when she was hit by a drunk driver. Chapman says the investigation that followed made her family feel like they were the accused.
"From being interviewed and dealing with lengthy investigations, ensuring all bases were covered, to wondering why the wheels of justice seemed to operate in reverse, caused us many times to feel the offender had all the rights and we as victims could only remain silent while our child was sentenced to death and we were in our sentence to life. Life without our precious Nikki," she said at Wednesday's gathering.
The bill would need to pass during this session and again either next year or in 2020 in order to make it on a ballot for a statewide vote. Lawmakers are weighing the costs and logistics of the plan, along with providing more rights to crime victims.
Iowa is one of 15 states without constitutional protection for crime victims.