A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Marsy’s law for crime victims rights gaining momentum going into the legislature

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, an effort supporting constitutional rights for crime victims, continues to gain momentum going into the legislative session. With more than 35,000 Kentuckians, prominent local leaders, organizations and advocates urging the General Assembly to pass Marsy’s Law, the victims’ bill of rights will be a priority in 2018.

“We have an impressive and ever-expanding coalition of victims, advocates and state leaders who are demanding that Kentucky victims be given a voice in the judicial process,” Marsy’s Law for Kentucky State Director Ashlea Christiansen said. “This is the year to pass Marsy’s Law and take a stand for crime victims across Kentucky.”

Kentucky is one of only 14 states without constitutional-level rights for victims of crime. If adopted by Kentucky voters in November 2018, Marsy’s Law would amend Kentucky’s constitution 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.

“This is necessary, commonsense legislation with widespread support from all across Kentucky,” Marsy’s Law Senate Bill sponsor Sen. Whitney Westerfield said. “Just as the accused have important, protected rights, victims also deserve to be given consideration and dignity in the judicial process. Our northern neighbors in Ohio overwhelmingly supported and passed Marsy’s law this year, and it’s time we do the same.”

Kentucky voters also strongly favor Marsy’s Law, with recent surveys showing nearly 80% of Kentuckians support amending the state constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims. 

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky

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