Marsy's Law up for debate in Frankfort

Crime victims bill up for debate in Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Marsy's Law took a step closer to landing on the Kentucky ballot for you to decide. The victim's rights legislation would require a statewide vote this fall. 

 

It required a supermajority, but Marsy's Law got much more than that cruising through the Senate on a nearly unanimous vote, the first bill passing through the chamber this session.

 

The Senate committee heard from the sister of an attack victim who described her brother being bludgeoned with a baseball bat and her family's awful experience for the criminal justice system. They also heard from a woman who was raped by her husband and was left feeling victimized again after dealing with the legal system.

 

“In short, Marcy's Law creates a criminal justice system that finally recognizes the victims as an equal,” Sen. Whitney Westerfield said.

 

Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield had pushed for this bill before. This time leadership was giving his crime victims bill of rights priority with the hope that it will land on the ballot this fall. 

 

Despite his claims that Marsy's Law would simplify the system for Kentuckians in your darkest hours, opponents questioned whether this bill would violate the rights of those accused and suggested this legislation would only further confuse victims and not give them a focus if the system failed them under this new set of rules.

 

“This bill will not hold the system accountable but will reduce constitutional rights of accused persons,” Rebecca Ballard DiLoreto, Kentucky Assoc of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said.

 

The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer said they expect to file suit if Marsy's Law moves forward.

 

Kentucky's ACLU also opposes the plan but would not commit on their next step. 

 

Sen. Westerfield feels optimistic the plan will pass the house with the 60 votes needed. If so, Kentuckians should have the final say on November 6. 

© 2018 WHAS-TV


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