Parents of Murdered Children

More than 20 plaques with the names of murder victims greet those attending a conference of Parents of Murdered Children. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports the plaques will go to Washington next month as part of the National Day of Remembrance.

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Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed a resolution marking September 25th as a national Day of Remembrance for All Murder Victims. Dan Levey is national president of Parents of Murdered Children.

"We fill like the nation should remember all loved ones of people who have died by violence. Much like we do for 9/11. And that this day will formally recognize that and it's something we've worked on for several years."

The group is holding it's 21st annual conference in Houston this weekend, a city that has a crime victims advocate in the office of the mayor. Levey holds a similar position at the state level in Arizona. He says it's a position they would like to see more of in other states and cities.

"I would like to see that duplicated in every governor's office in this country. The executive branch definitely should have its pulse on crime victims' issues and victims' right and it sets the tone for the rest of the state. I'm proud to says that we were the first state in the country to have an advisor for victims."

Levey says there's been progress for victim's rights over the years, but still more work remains to be done.

"We still need more rights to allow victims to be informed, included and involved in a system that still to this day in certain parts of this country you can be excluded from being in the courtroom. We don't have consistent laws throughout the United States. Thirty-three states have constitutional amendments for crime victims. There's many of us in the crime victims' movement that feel the United States Constitution should be amended to include crime victims."

Another issue touches close to home.

"Procedural rules, that you still in this country today not bring up someone's prior crimes. My brother was murdered in a car-jacking and the guy had several prior car-jackings. So the exclusionary rule as a crime victim is hard for me to understand how it's not relative."

Parents of Murdered Children focuses on providing emotional support for those who have lost loved ones. The group also helps victim work within the criminal justice system. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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