If you’ve followed the news at all, you’ve heard of Marsy’s Law and you probably know about the controversial language the General Assembly came up with for publishing the constitutional amendment. The court ruled it was worded in such a way that no one could vote “no.”
Marsy’s Law is a victim’s right initiative but it has consequences on the public’s right to know.
The Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader published an article recently about Marsy’s Law being considered in that case but went beyond by researching the issues in states where the law is has been passed. Or is near passage.
“In Florida, which passed a version of Marsy’s Law in 2018, families of three murder victims in a January attack at a bank initially opted not to release the names of those killed, sparking a debate over the law’s chilling effect on basic procedures of public information.
“Similar concerns have emerged in Kentucky, where voters passed a Marsy’s Law amendment with 63 percent of the vote last November without seeing many of the statutory details on the ballot or in state-paid newspaper ads before the election.
“The Kentucky Supreme Court is being asked to overturn the election results based on that lack of information and questions about how some provisions trample upon due process rights of the accused.
“If you ask the voters if they’re for crime victims’ rights, who other than a sociopath is going to answer any way but ‘yes’ to that question?” Justice Michelle Keller said during the Kentucky proceeding. “But when you get down to what that means for our system and how crimes are processed, then I think it gets very complicated.”