Letter: Maine crime victims deserve equal rights

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In 2010, after the murder of my 25-year-old daughter Darien in Portland, Darien’s friends and our family founded “Remembering Darien” in her memory to help victims of violent crime in Maine heal and rebuild their lives. We have since become advocates for victims and supportive of efforts that help crime victims. One of those efforts is Marsy’s Law for Maine.

Marsy’s Law for Maine is a victims’ bill of rights that, if passed in the state Legislature and then by Maine voters, will finally grant crime victims in our state rights and legal protections that are equal to the rights and protections afforded to those accused or convicted of crimes.

It is eye-opening as a victim of crime to come to the realization that while criminals have enumerated constitutional rights, victims in Maine do not. By passing Marsy’s Law for Maine, victims will be ensured a voice in their cases. They will have the right to be heard, to be notified of any proceedings in their case, and their rights will be recognized at the highest level of Maine’s criminal justice system.

Crime victims in 35 other states have these common-sense rights. It is time for Maine to remove itself as an outlier in this regard. As Cumberland County chairwoman of Marsy’s Law for Maine, I urge you to contact your state legislators to let them know you support equal rights for crime victims in Maine.

Judi Richardson
South Portland

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