Marsy’s Law for Montana Authorized To Begin Collecting Signatures

Marsy’s Law for Montana has been approved by the Montana Secretary of State to begin collecting signatures.

“Marsy’s Law is about empowering victims of crime,” said Chuck Denowh, State Director for Marsy’s Law for Montana. “Too often victims feel left out of the process—they’re not informed of a trial date or plea deal that happens in their case, for instance. Those are the types of instances that we want to eliminate to ensure that people don’t feel victimized a second time by the system.”

Under Marsy’s Law, victims of crime in would have the right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in their criminal case, and the right to be present at those court proceedings. They would have the right to be heard plea and sentencing proceedings, and receive timely notifications changes to the offender’s custodial status.  Montana is one of eighteen states that currently does not have these types of Constitutional protections for victims of crime.

“Law enforcement and prosecutors in Montana are doing an admirable job helping victims, but its too easy for people to fall through the cracks,” said Derek VanLuchene, a former law enforcement officer and founder of the Helena-based victims’ rights group Ryan United. “Marsy’s Law is about elevating victims’ rights up to that same Constitutional level that we provide for people accused of crimes.”

Marsy’s Law for Montana will need to collect just over 48,000 valid signatures from Montana voters to qualify for the November 2016 General Election ballot.