Georgians to Vote on Marsy’s Law as One of Several State Amendments

Georgia voters should expect to decide on five amendments to the state constitution in this year’s election. One of those amendments is known as Marsy’s Law.

This is how it will appear on the ballot:

If the amendment passes, crime victims will have the right to be notified of any proceedings involving an alleged criminal. They would have the right to know of any arrest, release or escape of the accused person. Victims would also have the right to speak at any court proceedings about the release, plea or even sentencing of a defendant.

The amendment is named Marsy’s Law after Marsy Nicholas, a University of California-Santa Barbara student who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after her death, Marsy’s mother ran into the accused killer at a grocery store. Her family had no idea he had posted bail.

Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas with her brother

Critics of this amendment feel that allowing victims to speak at early proceedings could infringe on the accused’s right of innocence until proven guilty. Victims could potentially sway the jury’s emotions rather than solely focusing on the evidence.

However, victims rights group feel that passing this amendment will give victims a voice, and the right to be heard.

Maddie Ray is a senior majoring in journalism.

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