Marsy’s Law – Expansion of Victims’ Rights


Victims Of Crime Can Now Petition Court To Be Heard And Participate In Proceedings Under Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law, or Issue One from the ballot in November 2017, is an expansion of victims’ rights in regards to notification and to be more involved in the criminal process. Additionally, who is classified as victim of a crime has been greatly expanded. Most importantly, victims of crimes may now petition the court via a motion or appellate review to make sure they are heard. This doesn’t mean that victims are now in control of the criminal court proceedings, but they are given the right to be heard and to participate in the proceedings. The law officially took effect February 5, 2018.

Who is protected under Marsy’s Law?

Marsy’s Law expands the traditional definition of victim to one that is more broad. Under the current law, victim only encompasses the person injured by certain types of crimes, as identified as victims in police reports. Now, the definition includes the person directly and proximately harmed by a criminal offense. For example, the parents of a child victim would be covered under this law, and gain the same rights to petition and be notified.

What is Gained under Marsy’s Law?

Under this new law, victims gain:

  1. The right to be informed of proceedings in writing
  2. The right to assert the rights described in the act via representative, and may appeal decisions based on those decisions
  3. The right to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity and privacy
  4. The right, UPON REQUEST, to reasonable and timely notice of all public proceedings
  5. The right to be present at the above proceedings
  6. The right to be heard in public proceedings that involve release, pleas, sentencing, disposition, or any other proceeding
  7. The right to speak with the prosecutor, upon request
  8. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay and a prompt conclusion of the case
  9. The right to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request by the accused, except as described in the Ohio Constitution, Article 1, Section 10
  10. The right to full and timely restitution from the offender
  11. The right to reasonable protection from the accused, or any person acting on behalf of the accused
  12. The right UPON REQUEST to reasonable notice of escape or release of the accused

Who was Marsy?

Marsy Nicholas was a University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her murder, Marsy’s family ran into the murderer at the grocery store, as he had been released on bail. After this traumatic event, Marsy’s brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III, chose to purse an initiative to protect victims and their families from what his family experienced after his sister’s death.

Which States have Marsy’s Laws?

As of the writing of this article, Marsy’s Law has already been passed and enacted in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Other states are currently targeted to bring Marsy’s law to those states.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I want to thank our law extern, Lily Mann, for writing this article. Lily will be completing her JD degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 2020. Nice job Lily!

For More Information, Check out the Links Below:

For the full text, see Article I Section 10a of the Ohio Constitution: