NCCASA Statement on Marsy’s Law Constitutional Amendment

October 12, 2018

NCCASA Statement on Marsy’s Law Constitutional Amendment Listed on the Ballot as Rights of Victims of Crime with ballot language below   [  ] FOR [  ] AGAINST Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.   As overviewed in a previous member mailing, there will be a Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot that is centered around crime victims’ rights. This bill moved through the legislature during 2017 and 2018, and the final version passed in the final weeks of the legislative short session in June. During this process, NCCASA was actively engaged in the process and has had many discussions about from our support status to what’s in the bill as it went through many iterations, and implications. Because of these discussions and the possible implications of the Amendment, NCCASA is neutral on the Amendment itself. That decision, while readdressed many times, is based on a variety of reasoning. We understand that some members may feel passionately about this Amendment either for or against the bill. However, we are addressing our concerns from a statewide view. Below are NCCASA’s concerns on this bill: 1) The expansion of those who are considered victims (additional 400 crimes to be included, which will include property crimes etc). This vast expansion will likely result in resources being distributed evenly among those in the victim class and thus, dilute the time given to sexual violence survivors. 2) Because of that class expansion, DAs will have more on their plate and this amendment does not include money to pay for victim services for implementation. 3) The notification system is an opt-in system, rather than the previous “as prescribed by law” standard. 4) Under Section 1a(a) of the bill, the victim has the right to be “reasonably heard” at proceedings, which would allow wide discretion from judge to judge. This also concerns us because it may give victims a false sense of support within the justice system. If a victim chooses to participate in the criminal justice system, we want to be able to help navigate that system for victims and give them understanding regarding what will or will not happen. 5) The enabling legislation for this bill has not been written and will not be written until after the amendment passes.   *If you have any further questions on the Amendment itself and its impact on those we serve, feel free to contact Staff Attorney Skye David at [email protected]]]>