Lake County state's attorney, board candidate push victims rights bill

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com
Updated 2/11/2016 6:30 PM
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  • Jasmine Jimenez, from left, her mother, Denise Rotheimer of Ingleside, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and state Sen. Ira Silverstein of Chicago meet in Waukegan Thursday to promote a bill that would cover crime victims' legal costs if they can't afford it.

      Jasmine Jimenez, from left, her mother, Denise Rotheimer of Ingleside, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and state Sen. Ira Silverstein of Chicago meet in Waukegan Thursday to promote a bill that would cover crime victims' legal costs if they can't afford it. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim is backing a bill that would cover crime victims' legal costs if they can't afford it.

      Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim is backing a bill that would cover crime victims' legal costs if they can't afford it. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Crime victims would be entitled to have their legal costs paid for under legislation backed by Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and a county board candidate Thursday.

The proposal, from state Sen. Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat, was the subject of a hearing last year and was introduced last summer.

But he was in Lake County Thursday with Denise Rotheimer, the executive director of Mothers on a Mission to Stop Violence and a Republican candidate for the Lake County Board, to push for the idea again.

She is running against former board member Judy Martini of Fox Lake and attorney David Zipp in the March 15 primary.

Rotheimer began her fight for victims' rights after her daughter, Jasmine Jimenez, then 11 years old, was sexually assaulted in 2001. Rotheimer and her daughter were active in the court case against the assailant throughout 2003.

She says those accused of a crime have the right to a court-appointed lawyer if they can't afford one, but victims don't have the same chance. She hopes the legislation would change that.

"So, they don't have to suffer the burden of navigating that system on their own," she said.

Republican state Sen. Pamela Althoff, a McHenry Republican, has signed on to support the proposal, too.

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