Could a victim’s rights law, in place already in more than thirty states, become law in Kentucky?
Voters are expected to decide on Marsy’s Law, which supporters say gives victims as many rights as their accused attackers.
People have the right to a fair trial. But for Terri Crowe, a victim’s advocate for New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services in Owensboro, victims should have the same rights as those on trial.
“It would be justice with compassion in other words,” Crowe says.
Under the proposed law, victims would have a right to timely notice of all proceedings, to be heard in pleas, sentences, and other hearings, and to reasonable protection from the accused. Illinois is one of more than 30 states with some version of the law in place.
“It equalizes the footing so to speak so that victims can feel like they have rights that are ensured and that are more enforceable at a constitutional level,” says Crowe.
But critics say the law goes too far. The ACLU of Kentucky claims that it would actually complicate the criminal justice process, increase prison populations, and also interfere with due process. But Commonwealth Attorney for Daviess County Bruce Kuegel says the law could keep all victims in Kentucky informed and involved.
“It’s going bring the uniformity from one end to the state to the other. You are going to be ensured that the victims are going to have a right to be involved in their case and to be informed as to what’s going on,” Kuegel says.
The proposed law is expected to be on the ballot this November.