A push is underway to amend the Ohio Constitution to expand the rights of Ohio victims of crime. This amendment, titled Marsy's Law, would, among other things, guarantee certain rights for victims, including:
- Notice of all public proceedings involving the offense and the right to be present at all proceedings.
- Reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on his or her behalf.
- Notice of any release or escape of the accused.
- A prompt conclusion of the case, without unreasonable delay.
- Being treated with fairness and respect for the victim's safety, dignity and privacy.
- The right to have input on plea deals offered to defendants.
The amendment also states that victims can assert these rights in court and, if denied, file an appeal.
The amendment is named after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her death her family saw the accused murderer in a grocery store after, unbeknownst to them, he had been released on bond. Similar constitutional amendments have been approved by voters in California, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.
Supporters of the amendment are currently in the process off collecting the requisite number of signatures to secure a place on the November ballot.