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Sierra LaMar: Anatomy of Search Day 116

It is an unfortunate irony that constitutional rights created to protect the innocent now shield the guilty.

The for the individual accused of kidnapping and killing Sierra LaMar demonstrated yet again, the preferential treatment afforded to criminals.

The defendant waived his right to appear in court and his lawyers asked for the hearing to be postponed while they subpoena cell phone records currently under seal. The judge granted a continuance until Aug. 29, when a plea may be entered.

This shadow maneuver only postpones the inevitable since it is guaranteed that the defendant will plead not guilty to all charges. I agree with the constitutional guarantees that Sierra’s accused killer must treated fairly, but what about her family? Shouldn’t they have rights too?

In order to guarantee equal protection under the law the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights, provides fundamental rights to individuals who are accused of crimes.

Those rights include: the presumption that the defendant is innocent, the burden on the prosecution to prove guild beyond a reasonable doubt, the right to remain silent, confront witnesses, have a public trial by jury, be adequately represented by an attorney, not to be tried twice for the same offense and the right to a speedy trial.

Of the 50 states, 32 have amendments in their constitutions that guarantee some level of victims’ rights, and more than 32,000 statutes have been passed in states and at the federal level that define and protect the rights of crime victims. These rights vary from state to state, but tend to include: the right to notification of proceedings and to attend proceedings, the right to be heard, the right to compensation and the right to protection.

 The major distinction between defendants’ rights and victims’ rights is that the United States Constitution guarantees the rights of defendants, while the rights of victims are guaranteed by either statute or a state’s constitution. The word victim does not exist in the U.S. Constitution and victims of crime have virtually no legal standing in the ultimate law of the land. This means that there is no equity under the law. The rights of defendants will always trump the rights of victims.

The only way that crime victims will ever receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system is through the passage of a crime victims’ amendment to the United States Constitution.

Amending the U.S. Constitution is a difficult process. Amendments must be proposed to the states by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress, and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states before it becomes law. Currently, there are 27 amendments to the United States Constitution.

It is an unfortunate irony that constitutional rights created to protect the innocent now shield the guilty.

In 2010, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 18.7 million violent and property crime victimizations. That is down from 2001, when we suffered 24.2 million violent and property crime victimizations.

When missions of American citizens’ lives are forever impacted by the violent actions of others, we need to take steps to protect their rights as we do the rights of the accused.

What can we do to rectify this imbalance? A bi-partisan effort to create a Victims’ Rights Amendment fell short about a decade ago. Sponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and with the support of Presidents Clinton and Bush, the proposed amendment never made it to the states for ratification.

However, House Joint Resolution 6, currently before the United States Congress, would establish a Victims Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

If passed, H. J. Res. 106 will give victims of crime the right to fairness, respect, and dignity. Victims will further have the right to reasonable notice of and ability to attend public proceedings relating to the offense; the rights to be heard at any release, plea, sentencing, or other such proceeding.

My sources tell me that 100 co-sponsors will bring House Joint Resolution 6t to the House Floor for a vote! We need to act now before the legislative session draws to a close. Your voice matters!  Visit www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb to find your Representative, call him or her now and ask him or her to co-sponsor H. J. Res. 106.

We should never lightly amend the United States Constitution. However, victims of crime will never be fairly treated by a system that does not afford them equal fundamental rights, and that can only be achieved through constitutional amendment.

Thomas Jefferson eloquently stated the need to occasionally modify the ultimate law of the land: “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions change;

Wth the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carolyn Collins-Bailey August 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Why are they looking at cell phone records? My opinion, if there is enough evidence againist a person...they deserve to be convicted. Why save the guilty...I say use the death penalty....and don't wait forever to do it. Just my opinion....
LD August 04, 2012 at 05:28 AM
He perped the abduction. He did not kill her. He's a raptor. He handled her off to a handler. By the time you figure this out decades from now you will learn that Lamar was harvested for dick Cheney's heart transplant. You people are fools. You aren't willing to think for yourselves, so you don't see reality. Very sad.
LD August 04, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Richard Allen Davis was raptor perp for Pete Wilson. One of three. San Joaquin/Linden? He didn't kill Polly Klass. He handed her off to the sheriff who transported her to Wilson Wilson. Why do you think they are trying to repeal the California death penalty? They are trying to keep him alive. Sociopath macabre hijinks. Wake up, folks!
Marc Klaas August 06, 2012 at 04:09 PM
LD, are you serious? None of these allegations hold up under scrutiny. There is no super-conspiracy between law enforcement, an ex-Governor, an ex-Vice President of the United States, the California Legislature, the ACLU or anybody else to cover up crimes against my daughter or spare the life of her killer.
L.B. August 09, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Mr. Klaas, I just want to say I'm very sorry for your loss. Your daughter Polly is a beautiful little girl and I'm sure she misses you just as much as you miss her. Please find comfort in the promise of our savior Jesus Christ that you will see her again, you will be reunited with her in heaven. I remember when your little girl went missing. It was very sad. I have a niece who lives in Sebastopol and I know I cant even grasp at the amount of pain, anger, sorrow, and pure emotions you have, do, and will face. I always admire the presence and support you offer to parents who's child is missing. You are a great man, your daughter is so proud of you, all the work you do is purposeful as you already know. I'm just a stranger, who like many watched the most personal and painful moments of your life unfold on the news and just know you and your daughter are thought of often. God bless you and you will be reunited with your daughter again.
L.B. August 09, 2012 at 06:24 AM
I'm sorry I didn't realize this site was solely for Sierra LaMar as I had posted just above directly to Mr. Klaas. However, my heart goes out to Sierra's family and I too pray for her safe return. Justice in the legal sense doesn't seem like much when considering how precious and great the loss.

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