Home Law This is how Issue 1 would expand crime victim’s rights

This is how Issue 1 would expand crime victim’s rights

5 min read
Supporters of Issue 1 speak at a February 2017 press conference. Photo by Connor Perrett.

On Nov. 7, voters will head to the polls and face the decision to amend Ohio’s constitution with Issue 1, an initiative to give crime victims more rights. Here’s everything you need to know about Issue 1.

What is Issue 1?

Issue 1 is a type of Marsy’s Law, which relates to crime victims’ constitutional rights. Issue 1 would replace the 2nd Amendment of Ohio’s constitution, which was passed in 1994. The original amendment was meant to provide crime victims with constitutional rights, but Issue 1 would expand and specify those rights.

What rights would Issue 1 give crime victims?

Issue 1 would provide victims with the right to be notified about and present at judicial proceedings, the right to be heard and a speedy conclusion of the case. It would provide reasonable protection from the accused, notification of the release or escape of the accused, the right to receive restitution and the right to refuse interview. Victims would have the right to be treated with fairness and respect.

What is different between Issue 1 and Amendment 2?

Rights that were not protected under Amendment 2 include the right to the prompt conclusion of a case, the right to refuse interview at request of the accused and the right to restitution.

What have other states done about this?

Five other states have ratified constitutional amendments, or Marsy’s Law, as of October 2017.

California was the first state to approve such amendments, followed by Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Marsy’s Law has never lost at the polls.

What are the points of contention?

Critics say that Ohio law affords victims extensive rights.

Ohio law already notifies victims if the accused is released from custody through an automated system that offers information at any time, a system that was implemented in 1998.

Critics contest that if victims are not receiving resources entitled to them by the law, Ohio should create more services — which Issue 1 does not stipulate — rather than amend the constitution. Issue 1 doesn’t give victims the ability to demand payment against the government if they aren’t notified about judicial action. Critics argue that the issue in Ohio is not a lack of victims’ rights but a lack of accountability for when the government fails victims.

Issue 1 also conflicts with the offender’s rights including double jeopardy, confrontation and the right to a speedy trial, because it doesn’t require victims to turn over evidence and allows them to petition the court of appeals.

Who are the key players?

The main proponent of Issue 1 is Marsy’s Law for Ohio, whose co-chair is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Other key supporters include Parents of Murdered Children, Inc., Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Rep. Larry Householder (R-72) and Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson. The ACLU of Ohio opposes Issue 1, citing concerns over how the issue would change the due process proceedings in the state.

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