Marsy’s Law for Georgia Hails Court Finding

ATLANTA - June 6, 2023
 - The mother of a child rape victim in Athens has won a positive ruling in an action involving her daughter’s rights under the Georgia Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy’s Law. Under the Marsy’s Law Amendment, enacted by Georgia voters in 2018, crime victims have specific, enforceable rights, which include the right to be heard in the judicial process and the right to be notified of proceedings.

At a recent hearing, Superior Court Judge Eric Norris found that “the District Attorney violated the rights of the Movant and the minor victim afforded by the Georgia Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the State of Georgia.”

“This ruling establishes a clear precedent that the hard-won constitutional rights afforded to crime victims under Marsy’s Law will be taken seriously in Georgia courts and cannot simply be brushed aside. We commend the court for affirming the victim’s rights and enforcing them,” said Professor Christine M. Scartz, University of Georgia School of Law, Jane W. Wilson Family Justice Clinic Director, and Marsy’s Law for Georgia Advisory Board Member. The Western Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez and her office have officially apologized and recused themselves from prosecuting additional charges against the defendant and have vowed to improve office protocols.

“We appreciate the District Attorney seeking to remedy any violations that have occurred in the case. We also encourage the District Attorney to implement comprehensive training and procedures to ensure victims’ rights are fully recognized in the criminal justice process. This ruling serves as an opportunity to educate and correct protocol as necessary to ensure victims’ rights are fully respected in the Western Judicial Circuit.” Professor Scartz continued.

About Marsy’s Law for Georgia

In 2018, Marsy’s Law amended the Georgia State Constitution to include a Bill of Rights for victims of violent crimes during criminal proceedings. The constitutional amendment received broad support and assured rights for victims, including standing to petition a court if they feel that their rights have been violated. Georgia is one of the numerous states across the country that have added Marsy’s Law to their constitutions in recent years. To learn more about Marsy’s Law Georgia, visit Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email [email protected].

About Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother walked into a grocery store where she was confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their family’s constitutional protections and equal rights. Since California’s passage of the Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008, Marsy’s Law legislation has been overwhelmingly approved by voters in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.