Marsy’s Law for Hawaii Victims’ Rights Amendment Passes Senate


Media Contact: Shauna Goya

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016 


Hawaii is one step closer to joining majority of U.S. in giving equal rights to crime victims

HONOLULU — Supporters of a constitutional amendment that would give equal rights to victims of crime were in high spirits after the full Senate today passed Senate Bill 3034, SD1, clearing the way for the measure to cross over to the House for another round of hearings.

The bill seeks an amendment to Article I of the Hawaii State Constitution, and if adopted, would guarantee the following basic rights to crime victims during criminal proceedings: the right to be heard, the right to be notified of proceedings and changes in the offender’s custodial status, the right to be present at court proceedings and the right to provide input before a plea agreement is finalized.

“The passage of the Senate bill today, along with recent sentiment from Hawaii voters, is encouraging news for many surviving victims and supporters who have been trying for decades to establish more enforceable rights for victims of crime,” said Stacy Evensen, state director for Marsy’s Law for Hawaii. “We have been out in force educating the community and talking to legislators about why the current statutes don’t work and it is only through a constitutional amendment that true equality can occur for these victims. Equal rights are what we are seeking — nothing more, nothing less.”

Marsy’s Law for Hawaii had commissioned a study conducted in January by Anthology Group and WPA that showed nearly three-quarters of 500 likely voters (73 percent) would vote yes in support of the amendment providing additional rights to victims of crime. Since then, many government officials have also indicated their support for Marsy’s Law through testimony, including the state Attorney General Doug Chin, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and Kauai Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar among others.

The Hawaii measure is modeled on victims’ rights constitutional amendments recently adopted in Illinois and now under way in six other states. Hawaii is one of only 18 states without constitutional protections for crime victims.

  • The Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights (Marsy’s Law), if adopted, would guarantee the following basic rights to crime victims:
  • The right to be treated with courtesy, fairness, with respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice proceedings;
  • The right to receive information about their rights and services available to crime victims;
  • The right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in their criminal case;
  • The right to receive timely notification of changes to the offender’s custodial status;
  • The right to be present at court proceedings;
  • The right to provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized;
  • The right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release; 
  • The right to restitution.

About Marsy’s Law for All

Marsy’s Law for All is dedicated to ensuring that crime victims’ rights are codified in law throughout the United States. When it passed in California in November 2008, Proposition 9, The Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law, became the strongest and most comprehensive constitutional victims’ rights law in the U.S. and put California at the forefront of the national victims’ rights movement. Marsy’s Law was also passed in Illinois in 2014.

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