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Marchers push for stricter crime legislation

Hundreds of crime victims marched through downtown Riverside today, holding photos of loved ones and advocating for tougher crime laws and victims rights legislation.

Holding signs of murder victims from throughout Riverside County, family members and friends walked from the Riverside County Courthouse to the Riverside County district attorney's office.

Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco led a ceremony to advocate for a possible 2012 ballot initiative that would strengthen death penalty sentences and expedite the process.

Pacheco followed other speakers who pushed for adding a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would create a victim's bill of rights, similar to "Marsy's Law" that was passed by California voters in 2008.

"This march is here to remind you that you're not alone. This may help remember loved ones lost too soon," Pacheco told the crowd, fighting back tears. "When will society learn? How many more lives must be lost before society takes action? I feel your emotion, your anger, disappointment and pain. Our laws are not good enough to keep us safe."

The ceremony was led with a prayer to offer condolences and sympathy for the victims of crime and their families. Speakers included Steve Twist, who serves on the board of directors of the National Crime Victim's Movement.

Also speaking was Dr, Henry Nicholas who was the architect of Marsy's Law, Mike Reynolds a leader in the three strikes law and former NFL star Kermit Alexander, whose family was murdered in 1984.

The events capped the end of national victim's rights week.

Read online at The Press-Enterprise