Local Advocate Stumps Congress For Victim's Rights

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We have told you about a woman who is advocate for victims right's after her daughter was murdered five years ago.

Kathi Testa-Smith has dedicated her life to help launch a "Victims Rights Amendment" that is appearing before the United States Senate this week.

Every day Kathi Testa-Smith relives the murder of her daughter.

"She never came home. I on reported her missing that night. She was raped and strangled on July 3rd. Her body was hid overnight in a storage unit and on the fourth of July in the evening her body was set on fire next to a dumpster."

She says the only justice she received is knowing her daughter's murderer will spend the rest of his life behind bars without parole.

But, other families arn't as fortunate and that's why Kathi has dedicated her life to helping others.

"I will make every effort to do the right things for other so they don't have to suffer the pain and anguish I've had to suffer," Kathi says.

Across town Chief Deputy District Attorney Daniel Greco says that suffering is something he sees a lot of. In the past several years he has prosecuted more than 40 murder trials.

"Sometimes the Constitution and victims rights come into conflict. It is a reality of the justice system. It gives victims and prosecutors no rights at all," Greco says.

For that exact reason, Kathi along with hundreds of other victim rights advocates pushing for the Constitution to be amended to read.

"The right of timely notice, of any release or escape of the accused, to be heard of public release."

She says with equal rights for both the victim and the accused, justice can truly be served.

The "Victims Rights Amendment" is expected to be debated in the United States Senate this Thursday night. It needs 67 votes to pass the Senate.

Advocates still need your help. They are asking concerned citizens who want the Constitution amended to contact thier elected representatives.

* Senator John Ensign
Washington D.C.
Phone (202) 224-6244
Fax (202) 228-2193

* Senator Harry Reid
Washington, D.C.
Phone (202) 224-3542
Fax (202) 224-7327

* Senator John Kerry
Washington, D.C.
Phone (202) 224-2742
Fax (202) 224-8525