Vote no on Marsy’s Law ballot question
On Nov. 5 I will vote “no” on the ballot question about Marsy’s Law. Kelsey Grammer’s heart-wrenching advertisement is missing facts. I believe in the fundamentals of our Constitution and basic human rights. Do your research, don’t be fooled by a commercial! These actors likely don’t even know the true ramifications.
Marsy’s Law is in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and right to due process. Victims should — and do — have rights, but it cannot be at the cost of potentially innocent people going to prison. In Pennsylvania, we already have three notification systems. The
Office of Victim Advocate should be notifying alleged victims of this, as part of their job. Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act was passed in 1998.
It provides for alleged victims to be notified of court proceedings, to be given prosecutorial assistance at those proceedings, to offer comment regarding plea deals and other matters at court-related proceedings, to receive information about services available to them, to receive restitution and compensation, and to have their evidentiary property returned expeditiously.
Marsy’s Law would bar a defendant (and a judge) from receiving legally relevant and clearly exculpatory evidence from the prosecutor about the complainant in preparation for trial.
What if the complainant has a history of psychosis or delusions or lies or bias or some other issue affecting his credibility?
Furthermore, pursuant to the “victim’s refusal” component of Marsy’s Law that allows an alleged victim to claim that he/she is “fearful” of being found and harassed by a defendant, police who shoot or beat someone could claim to be victims of the very person they shot or beat and therefore could withhold evidence from the defense attorney representing the person who was arrested and charged after having been shot or beaten by police.
It actually happened in North Dakota last year under that state’s Marsy’s Law.
The League of Women Voters and the ACLU have issued statements in opposition to Marsy’s Law.
Vote “no” on this unjust law that would unnecessarily, and unjustly, alter our state constitution.