Marsy’s Law for North Dakota Language Approved for Circulation

December 22, 2015

For more information, contact:
Amanda Godfread
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Marsy’s Law for North Dakota Language Approved for Circulation

BISMARCK, ND – Sec. of State Al Jaeger today gave his approval for the Marsy’s Law for North Dakota ballot language to be circulated for signatures among North Dakota voters. Marsy’s Law for North Dakota proposes to elevate victims’ rights to an equal legal level with the rights of criminals, ensuring victims have the right to be heard, to be notified of proceedings and to be free from harassment. 

“We look forward to talking with North Dakotans about the opportunity to elevate and secure victims’ rights through Marsy’s Law for North Dakota, and to answer their questions about this important proposal. Collecting the necessary signatures is an extraordinary chance to meet one-on-one with the citizens who will be voting on this measure, said Kathleen Wrigley, chair of Marsy’s Law for North Dakota’s sponsoring committee. “Most people do not know that when someone is victimized, the person accused of hurting them automatically has stronger legal rights. It is important that we have this conversation so that everyone understands the benefits Marsy’s Law will have for victims and their families, who are thrust into the criminal justice system.

“While there is an existing statutory law along these lines, Constitutional rights trump state law every time. It is time for victims’ rights to be secured in our Constitution and elevated to the same protection currently in place for criminal defendants. Marsy’s Law for North Dakota was written specifically for North Dakota and will not diminish the rights already in place for criminal defendants. Instead, Marsy’s Law for North Dakota further protects victims of crime, ensuring that their legal rights will be equally protected under our Constitution,” Wrigley said.

“As the family member of a murder victim, I can attest to the difference Marsy’s Law will make for North Dakotans,” said Pam Perleberg, whose brother was killed in North Dakota this year. “We have had a difficult time getting information regarding the proceedings in his case and at times have had no response at all to our inquiries. Marsy’s Law will help other families who are faced with tragedy like ours so their situation is not compounded by a system that gives a murderer stronger rights than it gives us.”

Marsy’s Law for North Dakota was submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office on December 15. The campaign needs to gather 26,904 signatures by July 11, 2016, in order to qualify for the November ballot.