Marsy's Law

Judge to Decide 'Marsy's Law' Ballot Question in Kentucky

Oct 9, 2018
Marsy's Law for Kentucky Facebook

On election day, the Kentucky legislature will ask voters a yes or no question:

"Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process?"

Voting "yes" would change the state's constitution, guaranteeing victims have rights like those accused of a crime. But the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says the wording of the ballot question is misleading, and Tuesday they asked a state judge to block the referendum from happening.

marsyslaw.us

The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is suing to block a constitutional amendment said to advocate for victims’ rights from appearing on the ballot in November.

The measure is called Marsy’s Law. It passed the Kentucky General Assembly this year, and if it’s ratified by voters in the fall it will amend Kentucky’s constitution to require crime victims be notified of court proceedings, receive compensation from the convicted and more.

Last week, KACDL sued the Secretary of State’s office and Kentucky State Board of Elections, alleging the Marsy’s Law amendment is flawed due to its effects on the criminal justice system and the language representing the amendment on the ballot.

Stephen George

Catherine Milliner’s grandson Tony died when he was four years old. Her daughter’s boyfriend was charged with murdering the toddler. And as a three-year trial unfolded, Milliner wanted to keep tabs on every step of the case, including the whereabouts of the accused.

“I got online and found out where Johnny was, the gentleman who murdered my grandson, just by accident,” Milliner said.

Milliner said VINE, Kentucky’s court notification system, failed to notify her of key changes in the case, like the defendant’s transfers between prisons.


Ryland Barton

The Kentucky General Assembly has passed Marsy’s Law — a constitutional amendment that would provide protections to victims of alleged crimes and require courts to notify victims when a defendant is released from custody, among other things.

The proposed amendment doesn’t need to be signed by the governor, but will need majority approval by Kentucky voters during a referendum on Election Day this year to become law.