Oklahoma Crime Bill Would Give Victims Status Updates On Cases

Tuesday, April 4th 2017, 5:57 pm

The Oklahoma House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would allow voters to decide whether to expand the rights of crime victims.

The bill, called Marsy's Law, would amend the state constitution to ensure crime victims are given access to information about their case. But opponents say it adds another level of bureaucracy and will slow down the justice system.

Marsy's Law essentially says crime victims would be treated with fairness, they would have the right to know where the defendant is and they would know, step by step, the status of the case. That's something State Rep. John Paul Jordan backs. 

Just days before his wedding, Jordan was attacked by a man who beat him with a piece of steel rebar.

"The truth is that I also didn't know what to do. I wasn't informed what the defendant, what my attacker his criminal case was like. I wasn't informed of when they were going to trial.  When a hearing was taking place. I had to search that out myself," said Jordan.

"What we've seen time again is the courts revictimize the victims, exclude them from the process.  Do stuff behind closed doors.  That what it's going to end,” said Rep. Scott Biggs, (R-Dist. 51).

Opponents say, in other states where Marcy's law has passed, prosecutors have had to add staff and costs to comply with the law. Voters will decide whether it will become law in November.