McNally earns victims rights award

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, displays the Champion of Victims’ Rights Award.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, was recently given the Champion of Victims’ Rights Award because of his efforts on Marsy’s Law for Tennessee.

McNally and three other state legislators were presented the award Aug. 12 in Nashville. Marsy’s Law for Tennessee is a law designed to strengthen rights of crime victims.

“It is all too easy for crime victims and their families to feel ignored,” McNally said. “That’s unacceptable to me and why I have spent my career fighting on behalf of victims. I am tremendously grateful for this award. I will continue to make advocating for victims a priority, ensuring they are always treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

McNally endorsed the measure, which aims to ensure victims of crime have equal and constitutional rights on the same level as those accused and convicted of crimes.

An abbreviated legislative session in response to COVID-19 in May forced consideration of the law to be postponed.

“To be honored with the Marsy’s Law for Tennessee Champions of Victims’ Rights Award, a person must show dedication to protecting crime victims’ rights and go above and beyond to make sure their voices are heard,” Bonnie Brezina, Marsy’s Law state director, said in an email correspondence. “In Lt. Gov. McNally’s case, he was the prime co-sponsor in the state Senate of the Marsy’s Law for Tennessee bill and he worked to make sure it was heard in the legislature.

“... More than 20 years ago, 89 percent of Tennesseans voted to give crime victims the rights they deserve by adopting a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” she added. “But unfortunately, victims have found these rights to be unenforceable under current law and the rights of victims are not always protected.”

Marsy’s Law is named after California resident Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her death, Nicholas’ mother and brother walked into a store where they were confronted by the accused killer who had been released on bail.

Nicholas’ brother in 2009 formed Marsy’s Law for All, which provides expertise and resources to victims rights organizations across the nation.

“This is a very big deal to our organization and the thousands of crime victims in Tennessee that we fight for,” Brezina said. “Lt. Gov. McNally is one of our biggest advocates and we appreciate his work to strengthen crime victims’ rights. ... Thanks to the leadership of Lt. Gov. McNally and his steadfast support for Marsy’s Law for Tennessee, our goal is to make sure that the rights of crime victims and their families are both protected and enforceable.”

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