HARRISBURG –Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) today called on the General Assembly to once again pass Marsy’s Law, so voters can decide if a victims bill of rights should be added to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
“As a staunch and tireless advocate for victims, I have seen victims treated in some counties with compassion and care, while in other places they have become lost in the criminal justice system,” Delozier said. “All crime victims deserve to be dealt with fairly and with dignity. They should not be re-victimized during the criminal justice process. By placing victims’ rights in the constitution, their rights will be protected no less vigorously than the rights of the accused.”
House Bill 276 would change the state constitution and ensure crime victims have the right to receive information about their rights, receive notification of proceedings in their criminal cases, be present at court hearings, be heard at plea and sentencing proceedings, and be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
Last session, Marsy’s Law, in the form of Senate Bill 1011, passed both chambers of the General Assembly. Identical language, which is contained in Delozier’s bill, must be passed this session and then approved by voters through a ballot referendum before it can be included in the constitution. Pennsylvania is one of only nine state constitutions without statutory rights for victims.
“I look forward to working with various groups from across Pennsylvania to bring this issue to the voters,” Delozier added.
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 Marsy’s death, her mother and brother, Henry 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’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. To honor his sister, Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.
The 88th Legislative District in Cumberland County includes Lower Allen and Upper Allen townships and the boroughs of Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, New Cumberland, Shiremanstown and Wormleysburg.
Representative Sheryl Delozier
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick