Episode 28: Is Marsy’s Law an obvious fix, or a well-intentioned mistake?

The amendment has a lot of bipartisan support. But it’s also gotten strenuous opposition from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • Katie Meyer

Last week, House lawmakers got together in the Capitol rotunda to celebrate passing a slate of bills intended to protect crime victims.

A couple of them look to reform the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. Others would allow certain victims to submit out-of-court statements instead of testifying in person.

One is actually an amendment that would put certain rights for crime victims into Pennsylvania’s constitution. It’s generally known as Marsy’s Law, and it’s particularly interesting because it has so far found its way into nine different state constitutions, in various forms.

It’s named for a woman—Marsalee Nicholas—who was murdered in 1983. The story is, when her killer was out on bail her mother unexpectedly saw him at a grocery store right after the funeral. Among other things, Marsy’s Law beefs up the requirement that victims be notified of case developments.

The amendment has a lot of bipartisan support. But it’s also gotten strenuous opposition from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who say it could compromise the rights of the accused.

In this week’s episode we’ll get perspectives from the people who are most adamantly for and against the amendment. 


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