On Tuesday, April 7, every ballot will have a referendum regarding the rights of victims of crime, commonly referred to as Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law would give victims the constitutional right to enforce their rights in the court of law if they have been infringed upon during the criminal justice process.
According to the web site for Marsy’s Law for All, the law is named for Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, a “beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.”
Republicans in the state senate and assembly have authored and supported this proposal and it has passed now in two consecutive legislative sessions per the law with a good measure of bipartisan support.
The wording of the question as it will appear on your ballot is as follows:
Additional rights of crime victims.
Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution, which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”
Essentially, according to those supporting this proposal, Marsy’s Law would strengthen some of the rights guaranteed the victims of crimes in state law by putting them into the state Constitution. It also adds a couple of rights to those currently recognized for victims of crime. Supporters say it is intended to level the playing field between the rights and protections that alleged criminals have and the rights and protections victims of crime have.
Those opposing the amendment say it will somehow affect the rights of the accused, that it’s unworkable and counterproductive, and claim it somehow violates the US Constitution.
Tuesday, April 7, is Election Day. Early in-person voting begins across the state on March 23. In Milwaukee, early voting begins Monday, March 16 and will run through Sunday, April 5. If you’d like to vote early, contact your municipal court for specific dates and times. Find your local municipal clerk’s information HERE.