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Voters in six states approve versions of “Marsy’s Law,” establishing constitutional rights for crime victims.

In November, voters in six states—Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—approved versions of “Marsy’s Law,” creating a “victim bill of rights” in their state constitutions.German Lopez, “How Marsy’s Law Performed in the 2018 Midterm Elections,” Vox, November 7, 2018. The law is named in memory of Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, a California student who was murdered in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend, who was then released on bail with no notice to her family; Marsy’s mother only found out when she ran into the man in a local store a week later.See Marsy’s Law, “Marsy’s Story.” The original law was approved by voters in California in 2008, and the measures provide victims the rights to, among other things, “be told about criminal proceedings, be present at proceedings, be heard at proceedings, and be protected from the accused.”Lopez, “How Marsy’s Law Performed,” 2018; and California Constitution Article 1, § 28. A total of 11 states now have some version of the law.Lopez, “How Marsy’s Law Performed,” 2018. While victims’ advocates hailed the results, the ACLU, among other organizations, opposes the measure, which it says “pits victims’ rights against defendants’ rights,” potentially undermining an accused person’s right to due process and to be presumed innocent by giving victims rights before it has been established that a crime has been committed—or that the accused committed it.For organizations’ views, see Breeanne Howe, “Marsy’s Law Passes in Six More States,” press release (Las Vegas, NV: Marsy’s Law for All, November 7, 2018); Jeanne Hruska, “‘Victims’ Rights’ Proposals Like Marsy’s Law Undermine Due Process,” ACLU, May 3, 2018; and Sophie Quinton, “Marsy’s Law’ Protections for Crime Victims Sound Great, but Could Cause Problems,” Pew Charitable Trusts, October 12, 2018. For potential issues in implementation of the law, see Beth Schwartzapfel, “The Billionaire’s Crusade,” The Marshall Project, May 22, 2018.