A ballot measure meant to expand the rights of victims of crime passed in six more states in November, according to an article by Forbes.
Known as “Marsy’s Law,” the measure gives victims certain rights, including notice of criminal proceedings related to the crime and presence at those proceedings.
“It is gratifying to know that innocent victims of crime in these six states will not have to suffer the injustices that my family endured upon my sister’s murder,” said Henry Nicholas, who spent $71.8 million in support of the measure.
Nicholas’ sister Marsy was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983, but the state did not inform her family when her ex-boyfriend was released on bail soon after the crime, leading to a confrontation with him in a grocery store a week later.
Critics of the law say it threatens a central tenet of the American justice system: that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, according to the article.
Chandra Bozelko, a contributor to The Hill, argued in a recent post that Marsy’s Law a gives victims the right to withhold evidence by refusing to be interviewed or deposed, even if it could prove a defendant’s innocence, essentially denying that person a fair trial.
“There’s only one justification for such a violation of due process,” she wrote. “Everyone must assume that the accused is guilty.”
Versions of Marsy’s Law passed in ballot measures in November in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Other states that have enacted the law include California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.