Supporters of Marsy's Law gather at St. Clair courthouse -

Supporters of Marsy's Law gather at St. Clair courthouse

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

ST. CLAIR COUNTY- Supporters of a victim's rights amendment in Illinois packed the steps of the St. Clair County Courthouse Wednesday morning. 

Supporters said that after years of their rights to safety, privacy, and to participate in court proceedings have been overlooked, and therefore it's time for a change. 

In order to make that change, a vote to invoke Marsy's Law will take place during the 2014 Illinois General Election. If voters pass it, Marsy's law would clarify and strengthen the rights already in place in the Illinois Constitution. Among other things it would give victims the ability to share their story in court and appeal to a judge if those rights are violated. 

Tanya Brown, who's grandmother Yoko Cullen was kidnapped after a bingo game, taken to East St. Louis, and murdered, says the lack of enforceable victim's rights in Illinois has added to the pain. 

"To feel like everything is ripped from you and you don't have the right to be heard is devastating. I feel like my Grandma's voice isn't being hear the way it should be," Brown told News 4's Alissa Reitmeier.

The amendment would enforce victim's rights to be notified before court proceedings and before the person charged in their case is released from custody. As of right now, if those rights are violated, Illinois is the only state with a Constitution that doesn't allow for an appeal. 

"We know what those rights are. We work very closely with victims already, but what this does is to help us have a voice for them and makes our voice for them stronger," said Brown.

Brown believes that passing Marsy's Law will help her family as they await sentencing of the 3rd person charged in her grandmother's case.

"You know you can't change anything about what happened. The things you can change, the right to be able to change certain things, the right to know certain things, it does balance out what happened," said Brown

Marsy's Law has been in the works for six years and is up for a vote on the current statewide Illinois ballot. 

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