Stories from South Dakota Crime Victims

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, a beautiful, vibrant college student, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. On the ballot, it is named Amendment S. However, “Marsy’s Law”  isn’t just about Marsy. It could be named after countless other victims in South Dakota. Marsy’s Law is also Debbie’s Law. It is Jessica’s Law and Andrea’s Law. It is Kari’s Law. It is Anthony’s Law and it will help every crime victim. Below are some stories from crime victims explaining why we need Amendment S in South Dakota.

Andrea Royer, Central South Dakota:

“Four years ago I was raped.  Even though I reported it, I was never told if my rapist had been charged or even arrested.  A short time later, during a trip to the grocery store, I came face-to-face with my rapist. South Dakota needs Marsy’s Law to give victims stronger rights so what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else.” Click here to watch her video.

Jessica Mitzel
, Sioux Falls:
“I was sexually assaulted before I was five years old.  After my abuser was charged, my privacy was not protected.  Soon, everyone in the small town where I was living knew what had happened to me.  I was harassed to the point that I became anorexic and attempted suicide.  Marsy’s Law would have given me a constitutional right to privacy.” Click here to watch her video.

Lynn Olson-Plucker and the family of Kari Kirkegaard and Anthony Gabriel, Chancellor
“Just like you, we never thought we’d be a victim of any crime, let alone murder. My family has been the victim of two murders in one year. We are a law-abiding family that has been treated as though we are the criminals by South Dakota’s criminal justice system. All while the habitual offenders are protected, sheltered and released.

The system has to protect their rights (and does so at the expense of the victim’s rights) to make sure they are given a fair trial. We understand that, but what about the victim? What about the one that is no longer here to tell their story? What about the one without a voice? We know about constitutional rights for offenders, but why doesn’t a victim have those same rights?

My family supports Amendment S, because we have experienced first-hand how our justice system is not fair. The scales of justice are tilted to favor the accused while it oppresses victims. We need Amendment S to restore balance in our justice system. Victims have suffered long enough. It is time to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Vote “yes” on S to give victims equal rights.”

Miranda Brudvig, Sioux Falls:
Even after verifying twice that the jail had her current protection order on file and that they had the correct phone number to call her upon her offender’s release, Miranda was not notified when he was released.  The jail’s reasoning for not calling was 1. They just don’t have the manpower to call every single person who has a protection order and 2. They don’t really call unless the inmate is being released on a violent violation. “Clearly there is a HUGE need for a victim rights bill that clearly and across the board notifies victims of the status of their offender… PLEASE VOTE YES ON S this November!”

Marti Cunningham, Centerville:
“In my case, I was denied the right to be heard in court proceedings. I support Marsy’s Law because I believe victims voices need to be heard and they need to be taken into consideration. Please vote Yes on S.”

Angela Hanson, Rapid City:
“As a victim of domestic violence, I have seen first-hand how our justice system has ignored statutory notification laws.  We need Marsy’s Law to strengthen victim rights by placing them in the state constitution so they are taken seriously and so they are enforceable. Criminal offenders have extensive constitutional rights, yet their victims have none in our state.  Please vote Yes on S to give equal rights to crime victims.” Click here to read her letter.

Emily Anderson, Sioux Falls:
“My vehicle was struck by a man who was an uninsured motorist and had 9 previous insurance violations. He did $12,000 damage to my brand new vehicle and because Marsy’s Law did not exist, I was not required to be notified of court dates, I was not allowed to give the judge an impact statement, and the man was never required to pay any restitution to me through the courts. I was a single parent at the time and financially impacted by this man, yet I was ignored by the justice process. Marsy’s Law would have given me a voice and a stronger right to restitution. Vote YES on S for victims’ rights!!!”