Vote NO on Issue 1
At first glance, a “victims’ bill of rights” looks like a no-brainer: Who doesn’t support the rights of victims of crime? But a closer look at so-called Marsy’s Law reveals that the proposed constitutional amendment is mostly duplicative of already-existing protections in Ohio. What’s worse, legal professionals say it could make the justice system less fair.
The amendment is named for Marsy Nicholas, a California woman killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her killer, out on bail, ran into the victim’s family in a grocery store later. Her family lobbied for the constitutional amendment to protect other families from similar experiences, and it passed in California in 2008. But California and Ohio are different. In 1994, Ohio voters approved adding a set of victims’ rights provisions into the constitution and legislators have added to those rights in subsequent years. These measures attempt to ensure that victims have many of the rights enumerated by Issue 1.
These items alone wouldn’t be enough to sink Issue 1 for us. And the effort has some high-profile supporters, including Hamilton County’s Joe Deters and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. But both the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys are opposed to the measure, saying it could create situations in which victims are able to suppress evidence, interrupt trials and create other impediments to a fair, speedy trial for the accused. Look, you don’t see these organizations agree on anything, really, but they agree that Issue 1 is a bad move. So do the Ohio State Bar Association and Ohio State Public Defender Tim Young. We agree with these prominent legal groups.
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