Victims' Rights Press Release 05/22/2012
NEWS ALERT: For Immediate Release
Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence
Press Contact: Denise Rotheimer, 847-406-8566, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasmine Jimenez, survivor of child sexual violence achieves the passage of a sign-off sheet in Illinois ensuring victims of violent crime receive information and an explanation of their rights at the onset of the criminal justice system.
"I was 12 years old when I reported the incident to police. On the day of the court proceeding the rapist received a plea deal for the minimum sentence and I was deprived of my right to attend the sentencing hearing or present a victim-impact statement. That was nine years ago!" she recalls with a sense of betrayal. "I want to use my experience to improve the laws and prevent the system from robbing the voice of other victims of violent crime, which is no different than the man who raped me. This way, I can achieve a sense of justice that was denied to me as a victim."
In her sophomore year at Washington and Lee University, Jasmine spearheaded Jasmine's Law which passed both Houses unanimously and became effective on January 1, 2011. Under Jasmine's Law, alcohol was included as an aggravating factor during the commission of a sex felony offense against minors under 18 years old and enables judges to double sentencing for convicted child sex offenders.
On May 22, 2012, while Jasmine graduated in the top 5% of her class with an Honor's degree in Political Science, the senate passed a new measure into law that she and her mother, Denise Rotheimer first initiated in 2003. "One month before her rapist was sentenced, Jasmine told the prosecutor that she wanted to testify and let the judge know about the impact the crime had on her. As her mother, I fully support my daughter's efforts to prevent other victims from becoming further victimized by the system the way she was railroaded. Jasmine has never given into the injustice she experienced-even though she was only a child. For that reason, we will never give up on our mission to propose laws that ensure justice on behalf of victims of violent crime," says Rotheimer.
HB5187, passed both Houses unanimously which includes a sign-off sheet that requires law enforcement officers to inform victims of their rights within 24-hours of reporting a violent crime. However, victims' rights still remain unenforceable in Illinois. Law enforcement officers will need to carry out this law by furnishing victims with a sign-off sheet on a good-faith basis. "Since we have not been successful in our attempts to remove the language from the state statute that denies victims appellate relief or a cause of action for damages when victim's rights are violated, our effort to make the law enforceable is still in the works," says Jimenez.
Jasmine will begin her first year of law school this fall at Cambridge University in England!
Click on this link to read the new law: HB5187