Controversial Constitutional Amendment explained

Story by Daniella Tebib, Staff writer 

The polls are in and Marsy’s Law passed with approximately 63% of the votes, but it still needs approval from the Kentucky Supreme Court.

On Nov. 6, voters considered a constitutional amendment on their ballots.

The constitutional amendment stated, “Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process,” according to the general election Nov. 6 ballot.

Marsy’s Law was first enacted in California after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, according to the Marsy’s Law for All LLC organization. Henry Nicholas, Marsy’s brother, encountered the suspect a week later without notice that he had been released. In 2009, Henry founded Marsy’s Law for All LLC in hopes of amending other states’ constitutions that don’t offer protections to crime victims.

Some of the specific rights for crime victims that the amendment includes are the right to be heard at proceedings, to be notified about the release or escape of the accused and to be considered when decisions about bail or release are made, according to the Marsy’s Law for All LLC organization.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky opposes this amendment because they believe it is unnecessary as Kentucky’s State Constitution already protects the rights of crime victims.

“We oppose Marsy’s Law because it unnecessarily complicates the criminal justice process, threatens to increase prison populations, interferes with due process and clogs our justice system,” according to the ACLU of Kentucky.

Versions of Marsy’s Law have been passed previously in several other states including California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois and Ohio. Six states including Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Nevada voted to pass it, according to the poll results from the midterm midterm election on Nov. 6.

It was also passed in Montana; however, it was overturned in 2017 because it was declared unconstitutional.

The fate of Marsy’s Law in Kentucky now lies in the hands of the Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision of whether or not it is constitutional.


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