Marsy’s Law—What is it—What does it mean?
How it all began
Marsy was a 21-year-old girl just prior to her graduating from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1983 when she was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend. A few weeks after the Marsy’s funeral the family was at a store and was confronted by Marsy’s murderer. The family was unaware Marsy’s murder had been released on bail.
“If any good can come of something this horrible – the loss of my sister and the losses of other families of crime victims – it is that these violent acts served as a catalyst for change,” Dr. Nicholas said. “Marsy’s Law will provide for a more compassionate justice system for crime victims in California and make that a constitutional guarantee.
-Dr. Henry T. Nicolas III, Marsy Nicolas’ brother, Founder and Chairman of Marsy’s Law
Marsy’s Law in PA
Marsy’s law was a referendum on the ballot in PA in November 2019. The majority of the voters were in favor of Marsy’s law. Just before the election in November, Mary’s Law was challenged by the ACLU and the League of Women Voters. The case went before the PA Supreme Court which stated, “votes cast for the Marsy's Law ballot referendum on victims' rights would not be counted, affirming an order from the state Commonwealth Court”
“Proponents of Marsy’s Law, say it will give victims a greater voice in criminal court proceedings, including providing notice to them for pending court hearings”. According to the ACLU, “Marsy’s Law attempts to “restore balance” to our criminal system by granting victims co-equal rights to the accused. While intended to appeal to our sense of fairness, it dangerously ignores the different purposes each right serve”. Although, Justice & Mercy does not always agree with the ACLU and the League for Women Voters, in this case we Do Not support Marsy’s law. Here are some of the reasons why.
“Marsy's Law creates 15 constitutional rights for crime victims that impact three articles and eight different sections of the state constitution. By bundling many amendments into a single “yes” or “no” proposal, the ballot question denied voters their right to choose which provisions of Marsy’s Law, if any, to adopt. Voters will instead be forced to make an all-or-nothing choice on the proposed constitutional changes”, according to sources from the ACLU.
We at Justice & Mercy believe in accordance of the way Marsy’s Law was written on the ballot that it impinges on the rights of both the victim and the accused. Dr. Tom Zeager, President of Justice & Mercy’s opinion is that the court can convict the accused without the accused testimony. Therefore, Justice & Mercy is opposed to Marsy’s law as it currently stands.
**for more information check out the following:
Temporary Program to Reprieve Sentences of Incarceration
In an attempt to mitigate vulnerable inmates for protection against COVID 19 Governor Wolf has signed an emergent order on April 10, 2020 for release of about 1,800 state prisoners. Vulnerable inmates include those over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, such as, severe obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, liver disease, that would make them at higher risk for complications of COVID 19 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Reentry of prisoners will take a combined effort to provide housing, behavioral health system, treatments programs in the community, food, medication supply, transportation, and complete medical screening to ensure they are not releasing prisoners that are sick. Because of these challenges the reentry of prisoners will be less than the 1800 amount that is eligible.
According to Sec. Wetzel, “While on temporary reprieve, individuals will be monitored similarly to parolees and will be supervised by parole agents. Upon expiration of the order, individuals would be returned to prison to complete any remaining portion of their sentences”.
Justice & Mercy believes that if the prisoners are able to be released and continue to do well, following the guidelines of their release, then these prisoners should not be put back in prison for the remainder of their sentence.
**Something to think about--What is your opinion on this order?