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Issue 1: Marsy’s Law

Will appear on the ballot as “STATE ISSUE 1: Rights for Crime Victims”Generally known as Marsy’s Law or “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights”, this initiative would alter the state Constitution to require that crime victims be notified and consulted on developments in their cases. (Proposed by Initiative Petition)A YES vote means approval of the constitutional amendment.A NO vote means disapproval of the constitutional amendment.If approved, the proposed amendment will take effect 90 days after Election Day.League Explanation of Issue 1:Crime Victims’ Bill of RightsIssue 1 (Marsy’s Law) will alter the state constitution to significantly expand the rights of victims in Ohio. The law would ensure that crime victims have a meaningful role throughout criminal and juvenile justice systems. It would provide crime victims with specific constitutional rights, including the right to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity, and privacy; to be notified about and present at proceedings; to be heard at proceedings involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, or parole of the accused; to a prompt conclusion of the case; to reasonable protection from the accused; to be notified about release or escape of the accused; to refuse an interview or deposition at the request of the accused; and to receive restitution from the individual who committed the criminal offense.Marsy's Law is named after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her death, her mother and brother Henry walked into a grocery store where they saw the accused murderer. The family had no idea that he had been released on bail. Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, brother of Marsy, is the key backer and proponent of Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law initiatives have been passed in California, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota (see https://marsyslaw.us/about-marsys-law/marsys-story/). There is already language addressing rights of crime victims in the Ohio constitution which voters passed in 1994. However, Marsy’s Law would replace it with language that, as described above, would expand the existing rights of victims and would establish new rights for victims. Pros:This proposed law will increase the legal rights and privileges of victims.Marsy's Law would replace the 1994 Ohio Victims' Rights Amendment, which victims' rights advocates said has been unenforceable.The proposed law would ensure that victims are informed when the accused offender is released from custody.It will inform crime victims of their rights. Cons:The amendment would override state law, eliminating judges' abilities to weigh the rights of victims and defendants.Victims are already protected by 1994 Ohio Victims' Rights Amendment in the constitution.The amendment would allow crime victims to directly file an appeal, overstepping the decisions of prosecutors.Victims could refuse to be interviewed or to turn over pertinent evidence or testimony.PROPONENTS: Marsy's Law for Ohio is leading the campaign in support of the initiative.OPPONENTS: Opponents of Marsy’s Law include the Ohio Public Defender, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
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