MLNC Campaign Continues to Build Across the State
The Marsy’s Law for NC campaign to educate North Carolinians about the need to strengthen victims’ rights continues to build in anticipation of a statewide vote next year. As part of the outreach, the Marsy’s Law NC team has traveled to every corner of the state, collected resolutions from more than a dozen local governments, received more than 17,000 likes on Facebook and has over 60 percent of the state’s sheriffs personally endorsing the need to guarantee equal rights in the constitution for victims of crime.
Marsy’s Law is part of a national movement to strengthen rights for victims of crime in states like NC that don’t currently have enforceable, equal rights for victims in the state constitution. Many North Carolinians are unaware that state laws stop short of giving victims of crime these rights directly in the constitution – rights like notification of custody status of the accused or the right to speak and be informed about the timing of a court proceeding against their attacker. Without constitutional protections, these rights are not guaranteed or enforceable and often vary from county to county, subject to local prosecutors and court systems.
And according to a recent survey among North Carolina voters, most already support strengthening victims rights: more than eight in ten North Carolinians from across the political spectrum support amending the constitution to give victims stronger rights. Nearly nine out of ten voters believe victims should be guaranteed notification of a criminal’s bail, parole, release or escape and that victims who choose to have the right to speak at a bail or sentencing hearing.
North Carolina’s General Assembly is in the process of considering legislation that will allow voters to add these important rights to the constitution. Legislation already overwhelmingly passed the state House in a bipartisan vote this spring and will likely be considered by the Senate as early as January of 2018 so that voters can decide at the next election.
As the MLNC campaign prepares for a potential statewide vote, the Marsy’s Law team will continue to educate the state’s leaders, citizens and voters on the need for North Carolina’s crime victims to have co-equal rights guaranteed in the state constitution – rights that are already given to the accused and convicted.