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Keystone viewpoint: Heed victims' voices

| Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 8:21 p.m.

Crime victims have rights and their voices should be heard. Few would disagree. Yet what appear to be fundamental concepts of justice are not yet guaranteed in Pennsylvania, one of just 15 states in which the state Constitution does not spell out the rights of victims.

It is an omission that creates an imbalance in which the rights of defendants can carry more weight than the rights of victims, said state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Allegheny County. He's the author of a state Senate bill that would start the process of creating a constitutional right for victims to be heard in court.

The right to speak in court is just one of the rights that lawmakers hope to ensure victims are provided, according to lawmakers, prosecutors and advocates who gathered at the state Capitol to rally in favor of the proposed amendment.

For those who are victims of any crime, especially those who lose a loved one to murder or those whose lives are devastated by violent crime, rape or sexual assault, the day to reinforce victims' rights cannot come soon enough.

—The Daily Item, Sunbury

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