CLEVELAND - Issue 2 — the Drug Price Relief Act — may get the headlines but voters in Ohio will also be asked to vote on Issue 1, what is known as Marsy’s Law.
Marsy’s Law would replace the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights which voters overwhelmingly approved in 1994 with 77 percent of the vote that sought to protect the rights of crime victim’s and their families.
“Many believe the law hasn’t kept up with the changes in the legal system over the last 23 years,” said Leslie Quilty, Interim CEO of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center.
“What Issue 1 is hoping to do is to repeal and replace the current law and strengthen victim’s rights,” she said.
Protections would include the right to privacy and to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity; the right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims; the right to timely notification of all case proceedings including court dates and the right to be present and heard at court proceedings.
Other rights include the right to reasonable protection from the accused and the right to ask the court for those protections. Victims and their families will also have the right to be notified about the release or escape of the accused from prison.
These are measures Quilty said will not only protect victims but encourage more of them to come forward.
“I think it’s fundamental to know that not all victims come forward because of the intimidation of further retribution for coming forward. The more barriers we can break down and the safety measures that we can put in place… the better because what we're ultimately trying to do is make our community safer and this another tool to help make our community safer.”
Those opposed to the issue argue it would be burdensome on the system and force unfunded mandates on local governments to meet the requirements.