Barker signs Marsy’s Law endorsement

By STAFF REPORTS,

Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn recently kicked off a statewide campaign for equal rights for crime victims during a press conference at the Neshoba County Fair. Gunn was joined by Mississippi legislators, mayors, and victim advocates to show support for the passage of Marsy's Law.

"So often we don't pay attention to victims and what they've been through," Gunn said. "Their rights are not always respected or acknowledged."

Gunn shared his personal story of the untimely death of his family and is on a mission to help others through the recovery and legal process.

"We are here to begin our statewide campaign for Marsy's Law," he said. "I'm privileged to have led that charge in the House last year and we will come back with it again. I hope the Senate will take it up and I hope the people of Mississippi will embrace it. I hope that one day soon, victims' rights will have a place in our constitution."

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after her murder, Marsy’s mother was confronted by her daughter’s murderer in a grocery store. Having received no notification from the judicial system, the family was unaware that he had been released on bail mere days after the murder. Marsy’s family, and others, have faced pain and suffering since the courts and law enforcement are not obligated to keep them informed.

While criminals have more than 20 individual rights spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, the surviving family members of murder victims have none. Marsy’s Law for All seeks to amend the Mississippi constitution to ensure that crime victims have the same co-equal rights as the accused and convicted.

Victims and advocates interested in sharing their stories can email mississippi@marsyslaw.us.