CWA of Maine supports LD 1168, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Victims’ Bill of Rights”. This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to enact a Victims’ Bill of Rights, designed to ensure specific rights for victims of crime. The purpose of this resolution is to place into the Constitution of Maine various rights regarding notification of public proceedings at which the victim has a right to be heard, the right to confer with the prosecution and the right to prompt and full restitution. This resolution requires a court to grant a request by the victim to enforce the rights of the victim and to provide a remedy for violations of the victim’s rights, including the appeal of a sentence.
The following information was provided to CWA by Marsy’s Law for Maine. CWA of Maine supports LD 1168 and supports the efforts of Marsy’s Law for Maine.
Maine is one of a handful of states without constitutional protections for victims of crime. Marsy’s Law for Maine seeks to change that by amending Maine’s Constitution to provide crime victims with strong and enforceable rights that are equal to those of the accused and convicted.
All of us at Marsy’s Law for Maine are excited to be working together with the members of Concerned Women for America of Maine to put into place common-sense, constitutional protections that crime victims and families deserve. We write today to ask for your help and support in passing this critical constitutional amendment.
In order for Marsy’s Law to become a reality in Maine, our bill must be approved with a two-thirds (2/3) majority in the Maine House of Representatives and in the Maine Senate. Once approved by the super majority in the Legislature, the question will then appear on the ballot.
There’s a lot of work to be done. That’s why we are asking you, your family and your friends to join us in this effort. If you want to help make a difference go to our website and sign up to volunteer today.
We are looking for individuals who would be willing to testify in support of our bill, LD 1168, at the upcoming public hearing in front of the Criminal Justice Public Safety committee in early May. If you have a personal story to tell, or if you simply want to show your support for LD 1168, please contact Lauren LePage by email at [email protected], or by phone at 207-509-5698.
If you are unable to join us at the public hearing, but would still like to get involved with this effort, contact me at [email protected] or 207-619-3188, or visit our website and fill out our volunteer form. In the coming weeks and months, we will be contacting legislators and voters, writing letters to the editor and so much more.
According to FBI statistics, more than 1,700 violent crimes were committed in Maine in 2013, the most recent year for which those statistics are available. For a state like ours, with a relatively small population and a make-up of mostly small and close-knit communities, the impact of violent crime is felt far and wide. As someone who has been affected by a violent crime, I am sure this has meaning to you. I know it does for me, as a 5th generation Mainer, and I believe it is time for Maine to become a state where crime victims’ rights are elevated so they are equal to those who are accused or convicted of crimes like rape, murder and assault.
I am honored to lead this statewide, bipartisan coalition, and look forward to working with you to help Maine crime victims gain the equal legal standing they deserve.
Christopher Quint, State Director
Marsy’s Law for Maine
Thank you in advance for your diligence in this matter.