This fall Kentucky voters will be able to decide if they want to amend the state constitution to include a crime victims’ bill of rights. The House of Representatives today gave final passage to Senate Bill 3, also known as Marsy’s Law, which means the proposed amendment will go before voters this November.
The goal of Marsy’s Law is to give legal standing to victims of crime. The measure is named for a California college student who was stalked and killed by a former boyfriend in 1983. A week after the incident, Marsy’s mother encountered the murderer in her local grocery. She had not been notified of his release on bail.
California passed the original Marsy’s Law in 2008. Illinois, North and South Dakota, Montana, and Ohio have enacted similar laws, according to the Marsy’s Law for All website.
Kentucky’s legislation, as sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville), would give victims a meaningful voice in the criminal justice process and provide them with rights comparable to those afforded the accused. Those rights include notice of any proceedings related to their case and the right to be present at those proceedings, reasonable protection from the accused, and the right to full restitution paid by the convicted party.
KET’s Renee Shaw takes a closer look at Marsy’s Law.
The Kentucky Senate approved SB 3 on Jan. 10 on a 34 to 1 vote. The House approved the measure today, 87 to 3.