EDITOR’S NOTE: Marsy’s Law on the ballot is listed as Issue 1.
Since 1978, the members of Ohio Victim Witness Association (OVWA) have seen their share of unfair treatment of victims and witnesses across the State of Ohio. Because of their passion to improve the systems for crime victims, its members have provided insight, expertise and testimony for the original Crime Victim Bill of Rights in Ohio and helped draft legislation for Victim Compensation.
Previous victim rights language served well for the time however, it is time that Ohio provide its victims and witnesses with expanded, strengthened, and enforceable rights. Issue 1 is a Bill of Rights which:
• ADDS victim rights to Ohio’s constitution with mandatory restitution and for victim safety and privacy to be considered;
• STRENGTHENS victim rights by adding them to the constitution so that they cannot be lost without notice to victims in some “must pass” budget bill;
• ENFORCES victim rights by giving victims the right to be heard by the courts and correct a violation. Marsy’s Law will provide accountability to these systems when it comes to victim rights and give the courts an opportunity to correct those errors. No longer can a victim’s rights be overlooked for convenience of the defense.
There is some discussion in our community about the cost of such an amendment. Per Director Timothy S. Keen of the Office of Budget and Management, Marsy’s Law would have a “marginal fiscal impact on the state level”. Other states that have implemented Marsy’s Law have found quicker justice processes. This occurs because victims are heard and their rights enforced which leads to fewer hearings and decreased delays by defendants.
OVWA is proud to support Marsy’s Law for Ohio. We encourage you to join us in casting your vote to support Marsy’s Law on November 7th.