Feb. 10, 2021
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Sheryl Delozier is challenging Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration on their commitment to criminal justice reform following a lack of action and timeliness in a pair of instances dealing with victims’ rights.
“Mistakes happen all the time, but these two cases involve uncorrectable error and a failure to stand up for crime victims who did nothing wrong,” Delozier said. “The Wolf administration is charged with playing the role of watchdog in situations like this and its inaction silenced the voice of those innocent individuals for whom it should be advocating.”
Delozier is speaking specifically about the Department of State’s inaction on Monday’s court-imposed deadline to file an appeal in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s decision on Marsy’s Law, a proposed constitutional amendment to create a bill of rights for crime victims. In November 2019, more than 70% of voters said that, yes, they want to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to grant protections to crime victims under Marsy’s Law. The matter has been tied up in the courts ever since.
“Approximately 1.7 million voters spoke at the ballot box and expect that vote to count,” added Delozier, who authored the legislation referred to as Marsy’s Law. “When the Wolf administration allowed the deadline to come and go without acting, it dealt a potentially harmful blow to the future of a victims’ bill of rights that attracted overwhelming bipartisan support in the Legislature and at the polls.”
The inaction comes a week after Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar tendered her resignation for failing to take steps necessary to put on ballots a measure supporting victims of childhood sexual abuse.
“This is a case of déjà vu that no one wanted or deserved,” commented Delozier, referencing legislation that would have created a May 18 ballot question seeking to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow for expanded access to lawsuits by victims of childhood sexual abuse. In the last six months, this governor has taken cases to the Supreme Court to close businesses and change election law but is not willing to go the same route in defending the voters’ choice and standing up for victims.
She added, “Last summer, the governor was quoted as saying ‘Victims have been through enough. They deserve the most support we can give them.’ The Statute of Limitations and the Marsy’s Law court decision are grave reminders that victims can be revictimized even by those claiming to protect them. This is why my General Assembly colleagues and I will continue to fight for our victims and their families.”
Representative Sheryl Delozier
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little