A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

First day of General Assembly off to bumpy start, facing big issues; Hoover’s role in House uncertain

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2018 General Assembly got off to a bumpy start on Tuesday with some lawmakers unhappy that House Speaker Jeff Hoover has resigned and others upset that he hasn’t. 
Hoover, R-Jamestown, had announced he would give up his leadership post in November after admitting he entered into a settlement with a former House staffer to resolve a sexual harassment claim, but...

Commentary: Crime victims must have Marsy’s Law to correct imbalance in justice system

By Caroline Ruschell, Marcia Roth and Eileen Recktenwald Special to KyForward If you’ve ever watched a crime show on TV or witnessed an arrest up close, you know what happens. The accused is usually handcuffed, read their constitutionally-guaranteed Miranda rights, and put in the back of a police car to be taken to jail to face the charges against them. But what becomes of victims – those left...

Legislators convene Tuesday to face pensions, budgets, adoption, Marsy’s Law and more

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky lawmakers have a full plate of issues to address when they return to Frankfort to convene the 2018 regular session on Tuesday.   At the top of the list is reforming the state’s eight public pension systems, which have a total unfunded liability of between $33 billion and $84 billion, depending on whose figures you use.  Gov. Matt Bevin, accompanied by legislative...

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...