Photos from the recent 30th anniversary event:
Maryland General Assembly to Honor the Parents of Stephanie Roper for Outstanding Advocacy to Crime Victims 30 years after Their Daughter’s Murder
Vince and Roberta Roper not only successfully advocated for new law and created services for crime victims, but also in the process helped create a better justice system.
Recognitions & Interviews
(Click the PLAY button to listen to the audio files in your browser or right click the MP3 link and choose “Save Target As | Save Link As” to save the files to your computer)
Maryland House Proceedings No. 61 (MP3): [audio:https://www.mdcrimevictims.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Maryland_House_Proceedings_No_61.mp3]
Maryland Senate Proceedings No. 58 (MP3): [audio:https://www.mdcrimevictims.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Maryland_Senate_Proceedings_No_58.mp3]
WBAL’s Anne Kramer Interviews Roberta Roper (MP3): [audio:https://www.mdcrimevictims.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/WBAL_Anne_Kramer_Interviews_Roberta_Roper.mp3]
Thirty Years Ago To The Present
Annapolis, MD, March 27, 2012 / Almost thirty years ago on April 3, 1982, the unthinkable happened to Stephanie Roper. When home from college, Stephanie was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. To compound the loss of their daughter, the justice system kept Stephanie’s parents out of the courtroom during the trial of Stephanie’s murder and would not allow them to be heard at the sentencing of the defendants. Vince and Roberta Roper formed what is now the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, Inc. (MCVRC) to change the laws to create rights for crime victims and an organization to assist victims in the aftermath of crime. Thirty years after the death of their daughter on April 3, 2012, the Ropers will be presented with resolutions by the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates for their efforts to improve the justice system and to assisting victims of crime.
Starting in the 1983 General Assembly session, the Ropers have sought to improve the plight of crime victims in the justice system by changing Maryland law. Those efforts have resulted in major changes in Maryland law. Over 75 legislative enactments have occurred as a result of the Ropers’ efforts. The most significant change occurred in 1994 with the adoption of Article 47 of the Declaration of Rights in the Maryland Constitution creating victims’ rights as a fundamental tenet of Maryland law. Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, Jr. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has noted that “The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center is the most successful advocacy group in the history of Maryland.” MCVRC endorsed legislation for 2012 includes: creating a Crime Victims and Advocates Commemorative Days each April 3rd (HB 766/SB 572); providing that courts may only revise verdicts and judgments on the record in open court after notice (HB 794/SB 369); extending the time to file suits in wrongful death actions (HB 707/SB 453); and creating remedies for violation for victims’ rights and establishing a priority of restitution for victims (HB 666).
Finding no services to help them and their family after Stephanie’s murder, the Ropers also wanted there to be an organization to provide services to crime victims, so they created one. While originally focusing on victims of violent crimes, because of the demand from and lack of services, MCVRC serves victims of all crime. Services were first provided by volunteers, but today the organization has professional victim advocates, social workers, attorneys, and others who seek to provide comprehensive services to crime victims. After finding that many of the rights secured for victims were ignored, MCVRC created one of the nation’s first law clinics for the enforcement of victims’ rights in criminal cases. MCVRC’s attorneys have represented crime victims in State and federal court in both trial and appellate courts. As a result of the services provided to victims, MCVRC has been nationally recognized by the United States Department of Justice for professional innovation in victim services. MCVRC Executive Director Russell Butler indicated “The General Assembly’s recognition of the extraordinary efforts of Vince and Roberta Roper demonstrates the importance of how citizens can make a difference by change laws and in helping others for the betterment of society.”