Court Decision Invalidates Vote
On Tuesday when voters go to the polls, their ballot will include a referendum question on crime victims’ rights.
Voters will be able to vote on the Marsy’s Law amendment – but the votes will not be immediately counted as a result of a court decision granting a preliminary injunction on the measure.
The Pennsylvania Marsy’s Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment is on the ballot in Pennsylvania as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 5, 2019. Marsy’s Law is a nationwide movement to add specific protections for crime victims to state constitutions, such as the right to be notified if an accused person has been freed on bail or parole.
Proponents claim that certain protections for crime victims are important enough to merit constitutional protections. Opponents, including the ACLU, believe that while protections for crime victims are important, constitutions are not the best place for them, and that existing laws and practices should suffice, such as Pennsylvania’s 1998 Crime Victims Bill of Rights. (Pennsylvania in fact has victims’ rights legal provisions dating back to 1929.)
The proposed amendment has wide support in Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf, Rep. Melissa Shusterman (157th) and Chesco District Attorney candidate Deb Ryan all support the changes. The TTDems voted to endorse the ballot measure, while the Kennett Area Dems voted not to.
Here are links to further information on the proposed measure — feel free to learn more and form your own opinion on this proposed constitutional amendment:
- Statement from Marsy’s Law proponent organization
- Supporting statement from Deb Ryan, District Attorney candidate
- Disagreement from the ACLU
- Ballotpedia information on the ballot measure
- ‘Marsy’s Law’: A worthwhile victims rights bill or a relic that hampers courts? (Morning Call, December 20, 2018)