Watch law to protect victims
Compassionate, fair-minded Ohioans voted in droves for “Marsy’s law” last November. Eighty-three percent of voters approved the required amendment to the state constitution.
Their goal was to safeguard victims of crime against being victimized again by predators seeking revenge and over-zealous attorneys defending those accused of misdeeds.
At the time, there were warnings “Marsy’s law,” named for a California crime victim, may have gone too far.
Four other states have similar statutes on the books. In one of them, South Dakota, officials are considering changes to the law because of unforeseen situations that arose after it was enacted.
By expanding the number of people with rights to protection under the law, it has created a bureaucratic nightmare, some in South Dakota insist. For example, the number of people who have to be notified of court proceedings has expanded. And information the authorities can release to the public to help solve crimes has been limited.
In advance of the Ohio vote on “Marsy’s law,” there were warnings of similar problems. And some cautioned that limits on how much information defendants’ attorneys could request through the legal discovery process threatened to infringe upon the rights of the accused.
“Marsy’s law” provisions in Ohio became effective Feb. 8. To date, we have heard no complaints.
But Buckeye State residents should watch the process of implementing the new rules carefully. If flaws are discovered — especially if they threaten some people’s rights while attempting to safeguard those of others — corrections should be put in place as quickly as possible.