Marsy's Law, Ohio crime victims ballot initiative, clears first hurdle

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A proposed amendment updating Ohio's crime victims' rights has cleared the initial hurdle on its way to the ballot box.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday  the group's petition summary as a "fair and truthful" summary of the proposed constitutional amendment. The amendment, called "Marsy's Law" by supporters, would replace the 1994 Ohio Victims' Rights Amendment.

Next, the Ohio Ballot Board will decide within the next 10 days whether the proposal contains one or multiple amendments.

Then the petitioners need to collect at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters -- meeting a minimum number in 44 of Ohio's 88 counties -- to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for the November ballot is July 5.

The  outlines 10 rights of crime victims, including the right to:

  • be treated with respect, fairness and dignity throughout the criminal justice process;
  • be notified of all public proceedings involving the offense and the right to be present at all proceedings;
  • receive reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on his or her behalf;
  • be notified of any release or escape of the accused;
  • have a prompt conclusion of the case, without unreasonable delay;

The amendment explicitly states victims can assert these rights in court and, if denied, file an appeal.

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Constitutional Amendment