Strengthening rights of crime victims goal of Ohio ballot measure

Ohio may soon become the latest state in the Midwest to change its constitution with a goal of improving the rights of victims. Issue 1, also known as Marsy’s Law, will be voted on in November. Its enumerated list of rights includes privacy, notification of court proceedings, prompt conclusion of a case, protections from the accused, restitution, and the ability to refuse discovery requests made by the accused.

Like most Midwestern states (Iowa and Minnesota are the lone exceptions), Ohio has protections for the rights of crime victims in its constitution. Proponents of Issue 1, however, say it would strengthen those safeguards. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, associations of the state’s prosecutors and defense attorneys oppose the ballot measure, saying it could potentially violate the rights of the accused and hamper court proceedings. In 2016, voters in North Dakota and South Dakota overwhelmingly approved adding versions of Marsy’s law to their state constitutions; Illinois residents did the same in 2014.

Wisconsin was the first U.S. state to establish a statutory bill of rights for crime victims. In the Midwest, constitutional-level protections were added between 1988 and 1996.
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Stateline Midwest: October 20172.11 MB