New law would grant victims equal rights as people accused of crimes

TULSA -- Marsy's Law will be on the ballot in November of 2018. It will give crime victims equal rights as people accused of crimes. 

Five other states have passed Marsy's Law. Thirty other states have adopted different sets of laws for victims. Kim Moyer, the director for Marsy's Law in Oklahoma, said Oklahoma is one of fifteen states that does not have laws guaranteeing the rights of victims. 

"When you're a victim of a crime, you're possibly injured of incapacitated in some way," Moyer said. "We need to have processes in place. We need to have constitutional protection for crime victims. You set the expectations that our state will develop processes in place to uphold the rights guaranteed in our constituion for crime victims." 

Marsy's Law will guide crime victims through what goes on inside the courthouse. They will be informed when hearings are taking place. They will also be given their rights similar to how the accused are read their Miranda Rights. 

The victim would also be kept in the know on where the accused person is being housed, whether that be a local jail, state prison or out of state. 

Moyer said victims would also be made aware that in some cases they are entitled to restitution. 

If Marsy's Law passes, victim's families would have the same rights as the victims. In cases where the victims die, like Alyssa Wiles case, her family said it is crucial.

"My daughter was Alyssa Wiles," Angela Wiles said. "She was 14 and she was murdered on June 10, 2013 in our home in Duncan, Oklahoma." 

Alyssa Wiles, who had just completed the 8th grade, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend. Angela Wiles said the teen broke up with him the night before and he broke into their home and stabbed her to death in her bed. 

Her father found her dead when he got home from work. 

"It really turned our lives upside down," Angela Wiles said. "It turned the meaning of our lives upside down." 

The family was forced to wait eight hours after finding their daughter dead to learn from police that she was a victim of a crime. 

The Wiles also missed a lof of the original court hearings because they did not know they were happening. 

That is why Angela Wiles wants Marsy's Law passed.

"We have no rights," Angela Wiles said. "It was our child that was murdered. She was the victim of a crime but as parents or siblings, we have no rights. We have no say." 

Marsy's Law would change that by making a difficult process easier for victims and their families. 

"We're the ones still here," Angela Wiles said. "We're the ones still fighting. We're the ones still having to go through the court system and make sure other people are aware of how this works. And again, it's not right. It's not fair but that's how the system works and Marsy's Law helps to change that." 

Wednesday a group traveled around the state to start a more than year long campaign for Marsy's Law to make sure it passes. 

At the Tulsa event, Sheriff Vic Regalado spoke in favor of the law. He is one of the first sheriffs in the state to speak out in support. 

Also, Sheri Farmer, whose 8-year old daughter Lori was killed in the Girl Scout murders 40 years ago, spoke. 

"Some people say we don't want to take away the rights of the defendant," Farmer said. "Of course we don't. We don't ever want to do that. We need to have some equal rights for the victims and this is that chance for us to do that." 

 

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