For Immediate Release: Marsy’s Law Passes in Six More States
For Immediate Release
MARSY’S LAW PASSES IN SIX MORE STATES
An Additional 52 million more Americans now have equal constitutional rights to the accused and convicted enshrined in their state constitutions
LAS VEGAS, NV – Voters in Nevada, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida today voted to amend their state constitutions by passing Marsy’s Law, which will give crime victims constitutional rights they can assert in the criminal justice system. These six states join five other states in adopting Marsy’s Law: California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.
Unlike those who are accused of a crime, about a dozen state constitutions and even the U.S. Constitution have no enumerated rights for crime victims and their families. Now, voters in these 11 states have voted to amend their state constitutions to provide crime victims with constitutional protections, equal to those rights afforded to the accused and convicted.
Chairman and Founder of Marsy’s Law for All, Dr. Henry Nicholas, greeted the news by saying, “This is a great day for victims of crime in all of these states. Voters have shown that they care deeply about equal rights for crime victims. It is a testament to the power of our cause and the strength of our movement.”
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas. Marsy was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after she was murdered, her mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, went to visit Marsy’s grave and then walked into a local grocery store where they were confronted by the murderer. Because the courts and law enforcement were under no obligation to keep them informed, the family had no idea that he had been released on bail or that he would remain free until his conviction. After the murderer was convicted and was serving his sentence, Dr. Nicholas and his mother were required to attend numerous parole hearings in order to keep Marsy’s murderer in jail. This traumatic reliving of the murder at parole hearings caused Dr. Nicholas’ mother to have a heart attack. Dr. Nicholas has made it his mission in life to give victims and their families across the country constitutional protections and equal rights.
“In 1983, my family was forever changed by the murder of my sister, Marsy,” said Dr. Henry Nicholas. “Going through the criminal justice process as a victim was an eye-opening experience, during which we quickly realized the need for stronger rights for victims of crime in so many states throughout the country.”
“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. This would not have been possible without the herculean efforts of our dedicated volunteers, crime victims, and their family members, victims’ advocates, law enforcement, and of course the voters,” he continued. “Passing Marsy’s Law in these states means that nearly one out of every three Americans will be living in a state with Marsy’s Law in their constitution. These are rights that all Americans deserve. I am eternally grateful for all who’ve supported these efforts and look forward to our continued work on this much-needed change for victims in our country.”
Leading expert on crime victims’ rights, former Federal Judge Paul Cassell, said, “Equality under the law is one of the fundamental principles upon which our judicial system rests. The importance of today’s results cannot be underestimated. Not only because voters have put right a wrong in six states, but because they have further highlighted the discrepancy between victims and the accused in those remaining states which still do not provide constitutional rights for victims.”
Marsy’s Law: A Bipartisan Cause
Providing crime victims with constitutional protections is one of the rare political causes that both Republicans and Democrats have been unified in supporting.
United States Senator David Perdue (R-GA) said this to Georgia voters during the campaign: “A vote for Marsy’s Law is a vote to expand protections for victims of violent crime. I’m proud our state is taking steps to ensure both victims and their families have the constitutional rights they deserve.”
United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) said this to Nevada voters: “Nobody should be pushed aside or forgotten. That’s why I supported Question One, Marsy’s Law, which ensures equal rights and protections for victims of crime, giving them a voice. By voting yes, Nevadans have shown that they believe crime victims deserve the same rights as the accused and convicted.”
The unofficial results of the votes, at the time this press release was issued, in favor of each of the ballot measures were as follows:
Nevada – 61%
Oklahoma – 78%
Kentucky – 63%
North Carolina – 62%
Georgia – 80%
Florida – 61.6%
In 2008, Marsy’s Law passed and became law in California. In 2014, voters in Illinois passed Marsy’s Law by a resounding 78%, one of the largest constitutional votes in Illinois history. In 2016, voters in North Dakota and South Dakota overwhelmingly passed Marsy’s Law in their states. In 2017, Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law by an incredible 83%.
About Marsy’s Law Rights
Marsy’s Law is about providing victims of crime with meaningful, enforceable rights. While the specific rights can vary from state to state, every state that passes Marsy’s Law has these core rights:
- the right to timely notice of proceedings;
- the right to be present;
- the right to be heard; and
- the right to standing before the judge, or an appellate court, if a victim feels their rights have been violated.
For more information on Marsy’s Law for All, please visit: www.marsyslaw.us.