Senators rally behind bill giving constitutional protections to crime victims

on February 3 | in Carpe Diem, In Focus | by | with No Comments

A new bill could mean that crime victims in Georgia will receive Constitutional rights, which include the right to be notified of court appearances and when their aggressors are released from prison.

State Senator John F. Kennedy is the sponsor of  Georgia’s “Marsy’s law,” which is named for Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas- a California woman who was stalked and murdered by her boyfriend in 1983. It seeks to provide crime victims with certain clear rights, and has been adopted in at least 35 state constitutions.

Senator Kennedy said that the proposal would give crime victims “nothing more” and “nothing less” than equal rights under the law.

“Marsy’s Law for Georgia would bring us in line with what the vast majority of the country is already doing, and we have no evidence from these other states that constitutional rights for crime victims interfere with or overly burden the criminal justice system,” said Kennedy. “Since 2010, Georgia has had rights for crime victims outlined in state law. We already have the systems in place to provide these protections that we all support. Elevating these rights to the constitution gives them teeth, meaning victims would now have recourse if their rights were neglected.”

Several state senators from both sides of the aisle are standing behind the measure. Co-sponsors include President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) and Sens. John Albers (R-Roswell), Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), Matt Brass (R-Newnan), Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville), Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone), Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla), Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), Judson Hill (R-Marietta), Greg Kirk (R-Americus), Burt Jones (R-Jackson), William Ligon (R-Brunswick), Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) and Michael Williams (R-Cumming).

Before Marsy’s law is added to the state constitution, it must first pass through the General Assembly with two-thirds support from House and Senate lawmakers. It will then be added onto a ballot to receive approval from voters.

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