A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Emily Postel: Kentucky voters deserve another opportunity to decide on Marsy’s Law

In this time of significant uncertainty, we commend the Kentucky General Assembly for moving forward on an effort to once again allow voters to decide what rights should be afforded to victims of crime. Following successful bipartisan Senate adoption and House committee approval, SB 15 (Marsy’s Law) is poised for passage by the full House of Representatives in the coming days. House members should...

Opinion: Marsy’s Law will give crime victims a much-deserved voice in Kentucky’s justice system

By Dorislee Gilbert and Caroline Ruschell Special to KyForward Sometimes simply having a voice in the process and being treated with respect makes all the difference. That’s something we’ve heard time and again from survivors as they navigate the criminal justice system. It’s also quite often the defining factor in whether they feel justice was rendered or if the very system in place to protect...

Al Cross: List of possible constitutional amendments lengthens (includes new taxes); only four allowed

“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” That quote, one of many falsely attributed to Mark Twain, apparently originated with Gideon Tucker, a New York lawyer, politician and newspaper editor, in 1866. It’s an exaggeration, but a useful reminder that our nation and its states are republics – in which we, the people, invest in their elected...

Crime victims’ rights proposal, known as Marsy’s Law, clears Kentucky Senate

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A proposal to give crime victims more rights in the Kentucky Constitution passed the Senate on Tuesday. The legislation, known as Marsy’s Law and sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, is nearly identical to a similar proposal that passed the General Assembly in 2018 and was approved by 63 percent of the voters. Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton,,is sponsoring...

This week at the Capitol: Legislation to limit cost of insulin, Marsy’s Law among bills moving forward

Although the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2020 session reached its halfway point this week, much more than half of the workload of this session likely lies ahead. After seven weeks of legislative activity, hundreds of bills have moved closer to becoming law, although fewer than ten have reached the governor’s desk to be signed. That’s typical at this point in a session. It’s likely that the...

Whitney Westerfield: Victims of crime are still counting on you, Kentucky; we need Marsy’s Law

In 2018, the General Assembly and Kentucky voters demonstrated their strong support for crime victims when they overwhelmingly adopted the Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment. Their intent was as clear as their message: “you deserve better, we support you, and your voice matters”. Victims were able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing they would finally be afforded the same level of constitutional...

Schickel, Westerfield spar over concerns regarding out-of-state lobbying money targeting Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Kentucky lawmaker has expressed his displeasure at out-of-state money being used to lobby for legislation in Kentucky. Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to complain about the money spent on Marsy’s Law, a measure named after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in the 1980s. Republican...

Marsy’s Law supporters ask Kentucky Supreme Court to reconsider its decision on vague ballot wording

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Supporters of Marsy’s Law are asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to reconsider a decision last month that found the ballot wording too vague.

 The measure was approved as Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, during the 2018 General Assembly, passing the Senate 34-1, and the House, 87-3, allowing it to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

 Whitney...

Ky. Supreme Court affirms decision striking down constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously affirmed a lower court opinion that invalidated the language of a Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters last year. Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, introduced Senate Bill 3 on the first day of the 2018 General Assembly, the title of which was, “AN ACT proposing...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justices hear arguments on constitutionality of Marsy’s law ballot language

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether the ballot language for a proposed Constitutional Amendment regarding crime victims’ rights was constitutional after hearing oral arguments on Friday. 
Sixty-three percent of the voters approved the measure last November, but Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ordered the results not to be certified by the State Board...

No changes in six state House races recanvass, all to be sent for certification; Marsy’s Law awaits hearing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) –  No changes came from the recanvassing of six state House races and one for commonwealth’s attorney. They will be sent for certification on Nov. 20 by the State Board of Elections. One result stood out — In the Daviess County 13th House District race, Democrat Jim Glenn won by one vote over incumbent Republican DJ Johnson. Many others...

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...

Whitney H. Westerfield: Your vote matters, use it on November 6 to protect Kentucky’s crime victims

This Nov. 6 is the culmination of a three-year journey to bring Marsy’s Law to your ballot and educate you about why Kentucky crime victims deserve equal rights. I couldn’t be prouder or more thankful. When you see the question about constitutional rights for crime victims this Election Day, please know it is the result of the tireless efforts of crime victims, victims’ advocates, elected officials...

John Schickel: Proposed Marsy’s Law amendment would undermine Kentucky State Constitution

On Election Day (Nov. 6), citizens will vote on whether to amend our Kentucky State Constitution. The proposed amendment is known as Marsy’s Law. The Marsy’s Law campaign originated in California after a woman was tragically killed by her former boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend was released from jail on bond and proceeded to confront her family in a supermarket. In a recent ruling, Franklin County...

Sen. Whitney Westerfield plans to appeal circuit court ruling on Marsy’s Law to Kentucky Supreme Court

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today State Sen. Whitney Westerfield said he will appeal a Franklin County judge’s ruling that orders election officials in Kentucky not to certify results of a referendum on whether to change the state’s constitution to guarantee the rights of crime victims. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled Monday that the measure, known as “Marsy’s Law,” was not worded...

Whitney Westerfield: First step for victims’ rights complete, more work to be done in November

Last year in Kentucky there were 23,785 felony cases that resulted in a conviction. In each case, there was a victim who had to navigate a complicated judicial system at a severe disadvantage to those accused of doing them harm. Too often, the criminal justice system meant to work for them caused even more anguish. Sen. Westerfield It shouldn’t be this way in Kentucky. And, with your help in November,...

LRC’s Week at the State Capitol: First measure approved by GA is proposed victims’ bill of rights

The first bill passed by both chambers of the General Assembly this year is a measure that will allow voters to decide on a “bill of rights” for crime victims. Senate Bill 3, more commonly known as Marsy’s Law, proposes adding a section to the Kentucky Constitution to give crime victims constitutional rights similar to those afforded to the convicted or accused. The right to notice of proceedings,...

Michelle Kuiper: Marsy’s Law insures victims don’t suffer further in navigating criminal justice system

Every two hours someone in our Commonwealth becomes a victim to forcible sexual assault or robbery. If you do the math, that comes out to 4,380 people per year. In 1994, as a freshman in college, I became one of those statistics. In 1994, four weeks into my freshman year of college, the course of my life changed. I was taken off my front porch, attacked from behind, and sexually assaulted. I reported...

Frankfort this week: Marsy’s Law clears Senate; others followed on rare diseases, organ donors, pets

The General Assembly’s 2018 session passed one of its early milestones this week as the first bill to clear a chamber this year was approved by the Kentucky Senate on Wednesday.   The legislation, known as Senate Bill 3, brought back an issue lawmakers have considered before: adding language to the state constitution that specifies certain rights that should be afforded to crime victims. These rights...

David Ward: Marsy’s Law would have dramatic negative impact on Kentucky’s legal system

If Marsy’s Law – a bill pre-filed in our Legislature is passed, Kentucky citizens will have a chance to weigh in on the following question that will determine whether the Kentucky Constitution is dramatically changed and whether every criminal case in the Commonwealth is altered substantially. Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be...