'Marsy's Law' clears major hurdle at state Capitol

'Marsy's Law' clears major hurdle at state Capitol

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A bill intended to improve crime victims' rights in Hawaii cleared a big hurdle on Tuesday.

The House Judiciary committee unanimously signed off on House Bill 1144, which would require victims' rights to be written into the state constitution.

The bill is also known as "Marsy's Law," named after Marsalee "Marsy" Nicholas, a California college student who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her family unexpectedly encountered her accused murderer in a store because they didn't know he had been released on bail pending trial.

Among those who testified was Nicholas Iwamoto, who was stabbed 18 times on the Koko Head Crater trail in 2009. His attacker was granted conditional release last month without Iwamoto being notified, but under Marsy's Law, he would have.

Another individual who testified was Kimberlyn Scott, the mother of pregnant Maui murder victim Charli Scott, who vanished two years ago. She said it appears that right now suspects are afforded more rights than victims.

California is the first to pass the law in 2008. Several other states are also considering similar bills this year.

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