Crime Victims’ Rights Need Permanence

The Senate sponsor of Marsy’s Law for Georgia said the legislation gives crime victims’ rights more permanence and signals that our state is going to place a greater focus on those hurt by crime, reported The Macon Telegraph.

“There are a number of statutes that address some of the same things that are needed, but the thrust behind Marsy’s Law is to take it beyond statute and make it a part of our (state) Constitution so that the rights can’t be simply altered or changed or watered down,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) said. “And it is a further recognition of the value we’re going to place on victims’ rights.

Kennedy, an attorney, said he’s working out the final details of the legislation, which would require the approval of 2/3 of the House and Senate and then would go before Georgia voters to ratify.

The story notes that some prosecutors in the state will oppose passage of Marsy’s Law. The executive director for the Prosecuting Attorneys Council argued implausibly that Marsy’s Law simply makes it harder to “strengthen” victims’ rights in the future because it would require another constitutional amendment. He goes on to say that prosecutors oppose letting victims hire lawyers and intervene in the criminal justice process. 

“By their continued opposition to Marsy’s Law, some of our opponents show they are content to leave crime victims with absolutely no recourse if they do not get the rights they are entitled to,” said Marsy’s Law for Georgia State Director Ann Casas.

The fact is, it’s intellectually dishonest to argue that this will hurt the judicial process. Georgia is one of only 15 states that has not yet enshrined victims’ rights in its constitution. The dire warnings haven’t taken root in those 35 states.