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Marsy's Law: Equal rights for crime victims

Posted at 9:19 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 02:14:13-04

Shouldn't victims of crime have the same rights as those convicted of making them victims?  That is the question supporters of Marsy's Law are asking in Nevada.

"I can't go to sleep because I'm like where is this creep at," Monica Bisbee said.

Bisbee knows all too well what goes through a victim's mind both during and after a violent crime.

"He grabbed me from behind.  pulled me downstairs and taped my eyes and my mouth," Bisbee said. 

Bisbee calling that night with her two-year-old son in her arms the most terrifying of her life.

But her biggest frustration lies with the fact the man convicted of attacking her and robbing her home was freed last year after serving just 21 years on what was originally more than two life sentences.

"Here I am back up at night, scared out of my mind," Bisbee said of her new reality.

To add to the fear, Bisbee says she isn't allowed to know where her attacker is now living but was asked to provide her home, work, and other addresses so he can obey orders to stay away from her.

"I have no idea where he is at.  I am not allowed to know where he is at," Bisbee said.

That's one of the reasons proponents have been pushing for a constitutional amendment called Marsy's Law that would provide more information to the victim's of crime.

"It is the hardest thing in the world to tell someone you don't like where you live and where you work and where you shop, so they know where not to go," Will Batista, the state director of Marsy's Law for Nevada said. "We want to make sure you are treated equally as a victim of a crime regardless of where you live."

Question 1 already has the support of Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

The ballot question has no formal opposition.

 It sets out guidelines for what the thousands of victim's like Bisbee would be entitled to.

They include: 

  • Providing input on plea agreements.
  • Added privacy protections
  • The ability to be at any proceedings involving suspect throughout the process.

"If he is allowed to speak or hear or say something about his case, I should be able to plead mine also," Bisbee said.

"We want to make sure that victims know not only what their rights are, but also any resources available to them," Batista said.

While Bisbee knows she will have to live knowing her attacker is a free man, she says it's important to make sure victims in the future have more rights than those who destroy their lives.

"You want to know how to keep yourself safe or how to get over it, or how to sleep at night and not look over your shoulder every time," Bisbee said.

Analysis of the law shows implementation would have little if any cost associated with the changes.