LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation requiring defendants to be present in court when victims read their impact statements.
House Bill 5407, which became known as the “Bletsch Bill”, was sponsored by Rep. Holly Hughes (R-Montague). The bill came about in response to Jeffrey Willis, who after being convicted in the murder of Rebekah Bletsch in Muskegon County, left the courtroom before Bletsch’s family could address him with victim impact statements at his sentencing.
“I hope this legislation will help victims and their families through the healing process as they continue moving forward with their lives,” Snyder said, in a press release.
When the law goes into effect was not immediately released. Willis was just convicted last week of kidnapping and killing Jessica Heeringa in Muskegon County and is awaiting sentencing.