“The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday weighed the fate of a victims’ rights law that opponents say must be struck down because it was not properly put before voters,” reports David Wells for Courthouse News.
And what are the drastic changes that have the opponents so hot and bothered?
After being passed by ballot referendum in November 2020 with 63% of the vote, Kentucky’s version of Marsy’s Law granted crime victims constitutional protections including the right to be present at trials and other proceedings, the right to consult with an attorney, the right to be notified of all hearings and the right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
That is really a quite modest list of rights. It does not give the victim the right to become a party, appeal an adverse ruling, challenge a plea bargain, or defend a sentence.
I was one of too many cooks in the broth when the original Marsy’s Law was drafted in California. Some needed measures against changing sentences long after they were imposed hit the cutting room floor. But “politics is the art of the possible.” The measure as it reached the ballot and was approved by the voters was still a major gain in yardage, though we sure could have used some of the omitted provisions in the years since.