Amendment 1 is well-intentioned, but very misguided. The measure passed out of the House and Senate in the 2020 General Assembly and is now in the hands of Kentucky voters.
Marsy's Law unnecessarily complicates the criminal justice process, threatens to increase prison populations, interferes with due process, and will clog our justice system.
Marsy's Law is an empty promise.
We agree with supporters of Marsy's Law that the current system can fail victims, but Marsy’s Law doesn’t do anything to actually help them. Legislators should take a look at the existing Victims’ Bill of Rights and strengthen protections for victims, which could also include creating a way for victims to hold the system accountable if their rights aren’t respected. The vague and inconsistent language in SB15 doesn’t have any mechanisms to make sure victims can actually exercise the new "rights" outlined in the proposal.
Marsy's Law is vague and confusing.
The vague language in Marsy's Law opens the door to really inconsistent and problematic interpretations that we’ve seen in other states that passed their own versions Marsy's Law, including places like Florida and North and South Dakota. In one such instance, police officers were able to claim victim status and withold information from the public.
Marsy's Law turns due process on its head.
The principle of "innocent until proven guilty" is at the core of our justice system. Marsy’s Law designates one party a victim, meaning the court is presuming the other party to have committed a crime.