Media Contact

February 25, 2020

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY staff attorney Heather Gatnarek regarding the Senate’s passage of Marsy’s Law:

“Our justice system is imperfect, and often fails both those accused of crimes and those who have been victimized. Real reforms are needed on both ends. Yet, the Kentucky Senate has voted to advance the hollow platitudes and empty promises in the constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law.

Since the last time Marsy’s Law passed in Kentucky, we’ve seen unexpected and bizarre consequences in states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, and Florida. The victims’ constitutional right to privacy found in Marsy’s Law has been interpreted by some jurisdictions as a requirement police withhold certain information from the public. Other states have reported delays and snags within the justice system, including bond or bail hearings that are often delayed pending victim notification, sometimes for weeks or even months.

The General Assembly is well-positioned to review Kentucky’s statutory Victims’ Bill of Rights, take a look at what is working and what is not, and make changes in that section to further ensure that victims are supported and heard as criminal cases move through the legal system. We strongly encourage legislators in the House to take that positive step, rather than voting for a constitutional amendment that will ultimately let victims down and cause widespread problems in our justice system.”