Tulsa Family Leads Fight For New Rights For Crime Victims
TULSA, Oklahoma - A lot of people complain that criminals and suspects have more rights than victims, but that perception could change with Tuesday's passage of Marsy's Law at the State Capitol.
Passing Marsy's Law means people can now vote to amend our state constitution to give victims the same rights as suspects.
Oklahomans would vote on it November 2018; and for one Tulsa family who was a victim of a murder and an assault in less than a year, it can't come soon enough.
Khalid Jabara was gunned down just outside his parents' home in August 2016. Prosecutors charged neighbor Vernon Majors with murder.
It happened just eight months after prosecutors had charged Majors with running over Khalid's mother as she was walking, leaving her for dead.
The family said it was the culmination of years of threats and confrontations with Majors and the Jabaras trying to get help by filing police reports and protective orders.
"When we were thrust into the criminal justice system we realized victims didn't really have a voice," said Khalid’s sister, Vicky Jabara.
She said through their grieving they want to honor her brother and help other victims in the future, which is why they are asking Oklahomans to make victim's rights part of our state constitution with Marsy's Law; Oklahoma is only one of 15 states that doesn't do that currently.
Marsy's Law gives families the right to be notified of major proceedings and developments in the court case and notifies families quickly when something changes with the suspect - like they're released on bond.
It also allows victims and families to give input to district attorneys before a plea deal gets finalized.
Vicky Jabara said, "I think the great thing is this law is a bipartisan law, so everyone can get on board, and I like that about it as well. It brings communities and victims together."
Marsy's Law supporters are looking for volunteers to help get the measure passed in 2018; if you’d like to help, contact Woodrow Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org.