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Marsy’s Law: Updated Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses

Posted on in Domestic Violence

DuPage County family law attorneys, Marsy’s LawOctober was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In Illinois, state representatives have taken notice by drafting and implementing new survivor-oriented legislation to help make it easier for survivors of domestic violence and abuse to protect themselves, their family, and to hopefully eradicate themselves from a bad situation.

House Bill 1121 was passed in August of 2015 and amends the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act, with the addition of Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law was origni an initiative in California, but has been a part of a nationwide movement to assert greater Constitutional rights of victims in the criminal justice process. In Illinois in May 2015, the Illinois Senate passed Marsy’s law with an unanimous vote.

Marsy’s Law in Illinois 

Marsy’s Law in Illinois provides the following rights to victims of crime:

  • To be free from harassment, intimidation or abuse during the criminal proceedings that involve their involvement;
  • To be treated fairly and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy;
  • To receive notice and the right to a hearing in the event that the victim’s information, records, and communications are accessible for use as evidence in the criminal proceeding;
  • To reasonable notification of any changes or holdings of court proceedings;
  • If a right of the victim is in jeopardy, the right to be heard;
  • To be notified of the status of the criminal defendant, including his/her conviction, sentence, imprisonment status and release;
  • To have the considerations of safety and security of the victim and the victim’s family to be evaluated when the court is determining the bail amount, whether to release the defendant, and to dictate any conditions that must be satisfied or followed by the defendant post-release after arrest;
  • To be notified of any impending court hearings (as well as the right to be informed of the details of the hearing so as to avoid an encounter with his/her abuser), to be present at all court hearings, and to have an advocate or support person alongside him/her throughout all criminal proceedings; and
  • To restitution.

Right to Notice of Investigation Status

In addition, Marsy’s Law also dictates that the victim of a crime may request notice of the status of an ongoing investigation or must receive notice in the case that the law enforcement officers are re-opening a closed case so as to recommence the investigation of the case, except if (for both cases) the state’s attorney believes that disclosure of the notice regarding the status or reopening of the case would unreasonably interfere with the investigation.

Right to Make an Impact Statement at the Defendant’s Sentencing Hearing or Prisoner Review Board

Finally, Marsy’s Law provides victims (or their families) the right to make an impact statement at the sentencing hearing of the criminal defendant attesting to the effect that the crime has had on the person (whether physically, mentally, or emotionally) and the decider of the sentence must make a good-faith effort to determine the minimum amount of time that the criminal defendant must be imprisoned in relation to the impact of the crime on the victim. The victim may also be notified if the criminal defendant will be going before the Prisoner Review Board in the event the defendant may be released.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

The rights of domestic violence and abuse survivors has been at the forefront of several legal initiatives, and knowing what your rights are may be difficult. It is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC who can provide guidance on your rights as a victim of a violent crime. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.




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