A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Constitutional amendment, ‘Marsy’s Law,’ prevails strongly, now awaits decision by KY Supreme Court

Kentucky voters spoke loud and clear on Election Day declaring their strong support for adding Marsy’s Law to the state’s constitution.

Voters overwhelmingly agreed that victims should be afforded rights equal to those already provided to the accused and convicted, following a strong, three-year campaign by proponents. 
By a clear majority, Kentuckians voted to add a Victims’ Bill of Rights to the state’s constitution, providing crime victims the dignity and respect they deserve.

The votes have been counted, but the fate of Marsy’s Law now rests with the nine members of the Kentucky Supreme Court.  
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Marsy’s Law, Kentucky’s constitution will be amended to ensure crime victims have the right to a voice in the judicial process, the right to be present in judicial hearings and the right to be made aware of upcoming hearings or changes in their offenders’ status, among others. Kentucky is one of only a handful of states without such rights for victims of crime. 
“At its core, Marsy’s Law for Kentucky is about fairness and equality for all, and I’m proud to see Kentuckians vote to add this to our constitution,” said Ashlea Christiansen, Marsy’s Law for Kentucky State Director. “From this day forward, I hope the criminal justice system will no longer be a place of confusion and further re-victimization, but rather a place of hope and healing for victims.” 
The lone constitutional amendment on Kentucky’s ballot is a bipartisan effort widely supported by an extensive and impressive list of victims’ advocacy organizations, law enforcement officers, elected officials, along with thousands of individual Kentuckians. Marsy’s Law was also the first bill to pass the Kentucky General Assembly in 2018, with overwhelming, bipartisan support in both chambers. 
“This is a historic day for Kentucky. Kentuckians have spoken and clearly recognize the need for constitutional rights for crime victims,” said Whitney Westerfield, Marsy’s Law for Kentucky Bill Sponsor. “I certainly hope the Kentucky Supreme Court rules in favor of this important and necessary amendment. It is clear that voters support equal rights for crime victims.” 

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky

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