Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Campaign Files Petitions to Place Constitutional Amendment on Ballot
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Campaign Files over 45,000 Petitions to Place
Constitutional Amendment on the Ballot to Give Equal Rights to Crime Victims
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota, an organization composed of citizens and victim rights advocates, announced today that it has officially filed petitions to place an initiated constitutional amendment on the November 8, 2016 General Election ballot for consideration of the voters.
Jason Glodt, former prosecutor and State Director for Marsy’s Law for South Dakota announced they have filed over 45,000 signatures to the Secretary of State today, well in excess of the 27,741 signatures required by South Dakota law for an initiated constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.
“South Dakota has some of the weakest crime victim rights in the nation and we are now one step closer to giving victims the rights they deserve.” said Glodt, “The support our campaign has received across the state over the past several months has been truly remarkable and inspiring.”
“Marsy’s Law would guarantee equal rights to crime victims that would actually be enforceable by a court of law,” said Glodt. “Victims and their families would receive information about their rights and the services available to them. They would have the right to receive notification of proceedings for criminal cases and they would have the right to receive timely notifications about changes to the offender’s custodial status.”
Victims and their families would have the right to be present at court proceedings and provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized. They would have the right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release. Finally, they would have the right to restitution.
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas. Marsy was a beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, her mother Marcella and her brother Nick walked into a grocery store after visiting her daughter’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail.
Marsy’s family’s story is typical of the pain and suffering that the family members of murder victims have endured. The Nicholas family was not informed because the courts and law enforcement, though well meaning, had no obligation to keep them informed. Passing the Crime Victims Bills of Rights will ensure that future victims of violent crimes have Constitutional rights, and a formal voice in the criminal justice process.
Dr. Henry Nicholas, Marsy’s brother, has made it his mission in life to give victims and their families across the country constitutional protections and equal rights.