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Legislators ponder victims’ rights amendment to Iowa Constitution

A proposed amendment to insert legal rights for crime victims in Iowa’s constitution was the subject of two hearings at the capitol Wednesday.

...Two organizations that advocate for crime victims registered their opposition. Kerri True-Funk of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault said the amendment is “largely symbolic” and will do little to protect victims.

“When we’re talking about crime victims being heard in a situation, being valued as a person, we have to change our culture, not our constitution,” True-Funk said.

Lawmakers are still reviewing the proposed amendment and considering alterations before deciding whether it may advance to a committee.The proposal would put in the state constitution a requirement that victims be notified at multiple steps in the legal process and victims would be given the right to refuse to give a “deposition” — the legal term for a meeting before a trial when the defendant’s lawyer asks the victim questions.

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