• 32°

Our View: Marsy’s Law would benefit Kentucky

Providing crime victims the same levels of protection as those afforded to the accused would go a long way toward strengthening a justice system that is far from perfect but still stands as among the best in the world.

That is essentially what Marsy’s Law of Kentucky would accomplish by taking the standards from the Kentucky Crime Victim Bill of Rights and cementing them in the state constitution.

This would give these rights far more leverage and put them on the same level as those given to those charged with crimes.

It would also put the Bluegrass State in good company as Kentucky is one of 15 states that does not currently provide constitutional protections for crime victims.

Amending the state constitution is not something that should be taken lightly, but this is a procedure that has been done many times over the years. The entire document has been rewritten three times.

Another benefit of this approach is, if the General Assembly approves placing this on the 2018 ballot, the final decision is made by the citizens.

That is democracy at its finest.

The protections Marcy’s Law of Kentucky would provide include:

— timely notice of all public proceedings, to be present at all public proceedings and to be heard in any public proceeding involving a release, plea, sentencing or other matter involving the right of a victim;

— proceedings free from unreasonable delay

— reasonable protection from the accused and those acting on behalf of the accused;

— timely notice of release or escape of the accused

— full and timely restitution

— fairness and due consideration of the victim’s safety, dignity and privacy

— be informed of these enumerated rights and shall have standing to enforce these rights.

Many victims have come out in favor of this initiative, often becoming the voices and faces that drive home how critical this is. Individuals here in Clark County have joined the fight.

It is important to remember that victims of crimes are not just statistics. They are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives.

In some instances opponents of this law will again try to minimize victims, challenging their stories and attacking their credibility.

This is a short-sighted view.

Even if one victim’s story could be discounted there are thousands more stories to tell about how someone’s rights as victims were not considered or protected.

Marsy’s Law would be good for victims and good for Kentucky.