Time for NH to Join 35 States That Have Constitutional Rights for Victims - Linda's Story
I am Linda Twombly a 44 year resident of Nashua, New Hampshire. I’ve raised my family here and I am very involved in many community efforts. I care deeply about my family, my neighbors and my city. That is why I believe we must pass CACR22, or Marsy’s Law, and assure constitutional rights for crime victims in NH.
Too many in our community have become victims of crimes ranging from burglary to domestic violence, sexual assault to murder, a total of 2400 victims in 2017 were counseled by Bridges. And too often, victims of these crimes are re-victimized by the criminal justice system.
It’s unconscionable that we have allowed so many of our neighbors over the years to be exposed to additional abuses by their predators, and that defendants are able to so easily abuse the system to intimidate and silence their victims. It must stop.
My mother had been sexually abused as a young girl and did not share her experience with many out of shame – it breaks my heart to know that she went through the criminal justice system alone and carried that weight all by herself.
Her own mother had died of cancer, when she was 17 and she was overwhelmed with grief, and shame from the fact that her own father would do such a thing to his own daughter. She went to live with her grandmother, after the incident. I found this out from my mother just prior to her passing at age 68.
After finding the strength to report the crime to law enforcement, my mother wasn’t even given basic rights, like the right to be notified when her rapist was released. He was let out on parole and no one thought to let her know. After his release from prison, he continued in the same path of destruction and raped many of her nieces in her family. This was very difficult for my mother to hear later on in life and had a difficult time dealing with this. She felt as if she should have done something else to stop this from happening, and the rest of the information came from my cousins who told me years after the funeral.
I know there are hardworking professionals working within our criminal justice system – dedicated police officers, prosecutors, and advocates that do their very best. But, unfortunately, sometimes people fall through the cracks. That was true when my mother engaged with the criminal justice system, and the same is true today.
Victims deserve to have their rights enforced and recognized. They should enter into the criminal justice system on equal footing with the accused and convicted. Marsy’s Law will restore balance to our system and give courageous victims, like my mother, meaningful rights without taking away any of the constitutional rights afforded to defendants.
Marsy’s Law gives crime victims constitutional rights that would protect them from many of these additional abuses. They would be given the right to be notified if the defendant is released or escapes, the right to be heard, to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity by a system that currently treats them as second-class citizens.
I pray every night for the safety and happiness of my family, my neighbors, my friends, and my fellow Granite Stater’s. Marsy’s Law would provide the rights and protections I would want for my own grandchildren, should anything ever happen to them. New Hampshire needs Marsy’s Law. This amendment was crafted by our very own Attorney General’s office and has the support of those working within our criminal justice system. CACR 22 is a New Hampshire solution to a very real New Hampshire problem and New Hampshire voters should have the opportunity to weigh in. Thirty five other states in the United States saw fit to vote on a similar Constitutional amendment and passed it. It is time New Hampshire does the same thing.