Andrew Kestler the Director of Operations for Marsy’s Law for Ohio paid a visit to the Village of Enon Council meeting recently seeking support from this and other local government leaders for Issue 1 on the November 7, 2017 ballot.
Issue 1 is an opportunity for voters in Ohio to grant “basic constitutional rights to crime victims” explained Kestler. He noted that if approved, victims of violent crimes would have the right to be treated with “respect, fairness and dignity” during the criminal justice process. Kestler stated that had this law been in effect, the woman who was shot along with her coworker and the local police chief might be alive today.
The law would require that victims of crime could receive information and notification in a timely manner regarding major proceedings and developments in their case. They would be able to be present at court hearings and meet with prosecutors to have input before a plea deal is completed. They would also be heard at plea and sentence proceedings or any process that might grant their offenders release from the system. They would also have the right to seek restitution.
The law would not impact on the rights of those who are accused of a crime. It would instead give victims the same rights as the accused. The victim would not become a party to the case which means their role in a case would not change. It would also not delay the process in the judicial system.
Kestler noted that the law has been endorsed by over 300 elected officials statewide including Attorney General Mike DeWine. The FOP and other law enforcement organizations also endorse this Constitutional Law which would have more standing in the State of Ohio.
Kestler has been making the rounds of public meetings asking local government officials to show their support of the ballot issue. He also hoped to provide information to the local elected officials who may not have had the opportunity to become familiar with the proposed changes for victims rights.
Efforts are also underway in Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oklahoma and Maine to extend these rights to vitims of crime. The law is named after a student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after her death, her mother and brother were confronted by her accused murderer. The family had no notification that he had been released from jail.
North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Montana and California have already passed the law. Ohio is one of 15 states that does not currently provide this information to victims of crime or their families.