Marsy’s Law is First Ballot Question to be Validated and Certified by Secretary of State


Monday, December 21, 2015

Contact: Jason Glodt     

Cell Phone: 605.280.7767 

Email: [email protected]

Marsy’s Law is First Ballot Question to be Validated and Certified by Secretary of State

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota, an organization composed of citizens and victim rights advocates, announced today that the Secretary of State has officially certified its initiated constitutional amendment for placement on the General Election Ballot to be held November 8, 2016. The Secretary of State has classified the ballot question as “Constitutional Amendment S.”

In November, Marsy’s Law for South Dakota filed nearly 53,000 signatures with the Secretary of State, well in excess of the 27,741 required by South Dakota law for an initiated constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.

“This is great news for crime victims in South Dakota,” said Jason Glodt, former prosecutor and State Director for Marsy’s Law for South Dakota, “South Dakota has some of the weakest crime victim rights in the nation and we are now one step closer to giving victims the equal rights they deserve.”  

“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.

“We are excited to enter into the next phase of our campaign.” said Glodt.  “Marsy’s Law for South Dakota will now be encouraging South Dakotans to ‘Vote Yes on S,’ which is the letter the initiated constitutional amendment has been assigned now that it has been validated and certified by the Secretary of State.”

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.