Wausau Pilot & Review

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is partnering with the Marathon County’s District Attorney’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice this week to conduct a “mapping” exercise that will trace the path of a victim of crime through the criminal justice process from the time a call is made to law enforcement all the way through post-conviction proceedings. 

Attendees will be looking closely at how the rights provided to victims under Wisconsin’s nearly three-year-old crime victims’ rights constitutional amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, impacts the criminal justice system and its processes specifically in Marathon County.

The mapping exercise will take place on January 10th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Marathon County Public Library and will be facilitated by David Perlman, who works on special projects for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The group will look at the journey of both a victim of sexual assault and a victim of domestic violence. The goal of the mapping exercise is to highlight what is working well since Marsy’s Law went into effect in 2020, as well as identify areas for improvement. 

“This exercise allows us to get a clear understanding of who victims interact with at each “touch point” in the criminal justice system from the time a crime is reported through post-sentence proceedings. With this understanding, we are better able to identify areas of concern as well as recognize what is working well in regards to the implementation of Marsy’s Law and ensuring the best possible interactions with crime victims,” said Theresa Wetzsteon – Marathon County District Attorney. “It’s crucial that we recognize the importance of crime victims’ rights and have these exercises and conversations, which allow us to identify ways to better support crime victims in our community.”

Representatives from the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, Marathon County Circuit Court, Wausau Police Department, Department of Corrections, and victim services organizations including The Women’s Center, Women’s Community, Child Advocacy Center, and Diversion Program will also be in attendance. 

This is the third Marsy’s Law mapping exercise to take place in the past ten months, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice is using data collected during these exercises to examine the implementation of Marsy’s Law throughout the state and provide recommendations on best practices.

“We are grateful to the Marathon County stakeholders, and we look forward to sharing our findings from these exercises throughout the state to better assist all actors in the criminal justice process with implementing best practices in regards to providing crime victims the rights they have under Marsy’s Law,” said Nela Kalpic, State Director, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin. “We recognize the impact Marsy’s Law is having on crime victims in Wisconsin and that motivates us to continue working towards ensuring that all crime victims have access to their constitutional rights.”