Marsy’s Law for Ohio, the crime victims’ bill of rights constitutional amendment, will be on the fall 2017 statewide ballot, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
Ohio election officials announced the victims’ rights campaign collected 371,749 valid signatures from 54 counties. Ohio law requires constitutional amendments submit 305,591 signatures from at least 44 counties to qualify for the general election ballot.
“Today, we move closer to making equal rights for crime victims a reality in Ohio,” said Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, founder of Marsy’s Law for All. “We are excited that Ohioans will be able to vote on placing basic, enforceable rights for victims of crime into the state constitution.”
Under the Marsy’s Law for Ohio amendment, crime victims would have the right to notification of all proceedings as well as be guaranteed the right to be heard at every step of the process. Victims would have the right to have input on all plea deals for offenders, as well as the right to restitution resulting from the financial impact of the crime.
As signatures were gathered from citizens in all 88 counties, the Marsy’s Law for Ohio movement gained a wave of support from elected officials, law-enforcement officers, and crime victim advocacy groups.
The Marsy’s Law movement began in 1983 when Marsy Nicholas was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in California. Only a week after her murder, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they saw the accused murderer. The family, who had just visited Marsy’s grave, had no idea the accused murderer had been released on bail.
Following his sister’s murder, Dr. Nicholas has dedicated himself to giving victims and their families across the country constitutional protections and equal rights. Dr. Nicholas, who is a native of Cincinnati, is funding the effort in Ohio.