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Ohio Amendment Expands Crime Victims’ Rights

December 20, 2017 | Written by Dan Margolis

As a result of a recent statewide referendum, crime victims in Ohio now have new rights and protections available to them. Issue 1, also referred to as “Marsy’s Law,” received over 82 percent of the vote during the 2017 election. The law garnered significant support across the state, including among the majority of lawmakers. However, some legal groups warned of slowdowns in the criminal justice system in addition to an infringement of rights for the accused if the measure was implemented.

If a criminal charge has been filed against you, it is prudent to move quickly to obtain experienced legal counsel and begin the process of building an effective defense strategy. Cleveland criminal defense attorney Daniel M. Margolis is the experienced advocate you need to fight for your rights and work toward the best possible outcome in your case.

Call The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC today at to request a free, initial consultation.

The Measure

Marsy’s Law is named on account of Henry Nicholas and his sister Marsy. In 1983, Marsy was murdered by a former boyfriend. Nicholas and his mother were not aware that Marsy’s killer had been let out on bail until one day they encountered him at a grocery store. This encounter motivated Henry to champion an initiative that would provide additional rights and protections for victims’ families.

A number of states have passed similar initiatives as the one in Ohio, including Illinois and California. Efforts to pass similar measures are growing in Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Idaho, and Maine.

Victims’ Rights

Marsy’s Law adds a series of rights for crime victims to the Constitution of the State of Ohio. These include the right to:

  • Timely notification of all case proceedings
  • Privacy
  • Be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity
  • Information about crime victim rights and available services
  • Be present and heard at any court proceeding
  • Petition the court for the protection of the victim’s rights
  • Refuse requests for discovery from the accused (except as allowed by Article I, Section 10 of Ohio’s constitution)
  • Restitution
  • Reasonable protection from the accused
  • Notice of the release or escape of the accused

Any violation of these rights gives victims and families of victims the right to seek remedy in court.

Marsy’s Law and Current Ohio Law

Several of the rights provided to crime victims within the amendment already exist under current state law. However, proponents of the Amendment emphasize that prosecutors and police have failed to consistently adhere to the rules established by these laws, and thus, the rights of victims are often set aside. They have argued that placing them in Ohio’s constitution gives victims the right to appeal the decision of the judge or file a motion in court to protect their rights.

Opponents’ Arguments

Major opposition to Issue 1 came from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in addition to some defense attorneys, including Ohio’s Public Defender Tim Young. The major concern of these opponents is modifying Ohio’s constitution, and the effect it could have upon the rights of the accused.

A number of legal organizations in Ohio claim that the Marsy’s Law protections will drag out criminal justice proceedings and produce an imbalance of rights to the victim over the rights of the accused.

Proponents of the past measure, however, have contended that Marsy’s Law does not take away any rights of the accused currently provided for under the law. It simply establishes a balance between victims’ rights and those of the accused.

Contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC Today

Attorney Daniel M. Margolis understands the pressure you may be under due to facing criminal charges in Ohio. You can count on his vigorous and intelligent advocacy to ensure your rights are protected with a strong and carefully constructed defense.

To schedule a free case evaluation, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC today at .

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