Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Calls on Sheriffs to Notify Victims of Inmates’ Release in Midst of COVID-19 Outbreak


April 7, 2020


Nick Klitzing, K2 & Co.

618-322-1514, [email protected]


Marsy’s Law for South Dakota today sent letters to each of South Dakota’s 66 county sheriffs reminding them to continue to prioritize their duty to notify crime victims of inmate releases across the state and, where possible, to allow victims the opportunity to provide input during deliberations of precautions considered to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Notification of inmate releases is a constitutional requirement since the passage of Marsy’s Law in South Dakota in 2016.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota released the following statement (attributable to Erinn Mahathey, National Outreach Director for Marsy's Law):


“This is a difficult time for all of us dealing with COVID-19. Law enforcement officials are experiencing extraordinary circumstances when considering inmate release options and other measures to address the global pandemic.

Like many during this difficult time, victims are facing extraordinary stress from self-isolation and quarantine, which could make them particularly susceptible to trauma from encountering a perpetrator they believe is incarcerated. Marsy’s Law wants to make sure crime victims aren’t forgotten, regardless of what measures are taken to address COVID-19.”


Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is committed to being a valued resource for law enforcement across the state. We understand the need to curb COVID-19 cases. At the same time, we need to ensure crime victims and their families are kept safe when release decisions are made.

Read the full letter here.


About Marsy’s Law for South Dakota:

Marsy's Law for South Dakota led the campaign in 2016 to pass Amendment S adding a Crime Victims' Bill of Rights to the South Dakota Constitution. The amendment passed overwhelmingly with a margin of 60% - 40%, giving crime victims in South Dakota meaningful and enforceable constitutional rights equal to the rights of the accused.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas, a beautiful, vibrant college 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 Henry walked into a grocery store after visiting Marsy’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Henry Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.