Victim's rights amendment defeated

The victim's rights amendment would have given victims and their lawyers more input in the courtroom.

Lawmakers defeated a bill last week that would amend the Illinois Constitution to favor victims' rights.

Local officials say the bill was not ready to be passed. But victims think otherwise.

"It was stressful to go into the courtroom where the young man was," Tamy Cassady said. "He would speak to me he would talk to me, I would almost feel ... I don't know victimized again."

Cassady knows to well what a courtroom looks like, she was a crime victim. During her trial her prosecutor kept her very much in the loop, but some victims want to be involved more ... that's where amendment HJRCA29 comes in.

"The intent of the law as I understand it is to give them constitutional right of notifications of being updated about that status of a case in which they are a victim, to participate in the sentencing process, to have their voice heard," Adams County State's Attorney, Jon Barnard said.

The bill also known as Marsy's Law would have given victims and their lawyers more input in the courtroom. It passed the Senate but was killed days before deadline in the House.

"We heard from a lot of state's attorney's and judges about a concern over the implementation of the exact wording," State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy), a sponsor of the bill said.

"And as I understand it concerns were raised about what new problems this would cause oppose to what solutions will it bring," Barnard said.

One of those problems lawyers were concerned about was the victims right to access reports related to the defendant. Many believed that access could undermine the fairness of a trial, victims have another outlook.

"Because at least the victim then would feel like they had some sort of input," Cassady said. "Some sort of control over a situation that they really had no control over when the crime was happening."