East Hawaii News

‘Marsy’s Law For Hawai’i’ on Senate, House Hearing Agendas

February 8, 2016, 11:31 AM HST
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court, gavel PIXABAYMarsy’s Law for Hawai’i’s bill will be heard Tuesday at both the House and Senate hearings.

If adopted, the Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights, known as Marsy’s Law, will guarantee basic rights to crime victims during criminal proceedings.

Among the rights included in the proposed bill are the right to be heard, the right to be notified of proceedings and changes to the offender’s custodial status, the right to be present at court proceedings, and the right to provide input before a plea agreement is finalized.

The Senate and House bills both propose to amend Article I of the Constitution of the State of Hawai’i, which involves the rights of victims of crimes.

Hawai’i is among 18 states that do not currently have a constitutional provision protecting victims’ rights.

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Marsy’s law originated in California as an Amendment to the California Constitution and certain Penal Code sections in November 2008, known as the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008.

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In 1983, Marsy Nicholas, a senior at the University of California Santa Barbara was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend. The amendment, spear-headed by Nicholas’ sister, came from the fact that despite legislative measures, they felt that victims and their families in California lacked protection in the judicial system.

Similar jurisdiction has passed in Illinois and along with Hawai’i, efforts in Montana, Nevada, and South Dakota are also underway to create similar laws.

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