ATLANTA (February 9, 2017) | State Sen. Judson Hill (R–Marietta) announced today that he is co-sponsoring Marsy’s Law, legislation that would give equal rights to crime victims by elevating their protections to the state constitution.
“In our justice system, the rights of crime victims should be just as strong in the eyes of the law as those given to the accused and the convicted,” said Sen. Hill. “I was proud to support the crime victims’ bill of rights that is now in state law. Marsy’s Law builds on that achievement by granting victims the highest level of protections possible, and that is constitutional rights.”
A victims’ bill of rights, sponsored by Rep. Don Parsons (R–Marietta), became state law in 2010, but Georgia is one of only 15 states in the nation that have no explicit victim guarantees in the state constitution. Illinois enacted Marsy’s Law in 2014 and Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota did the same last year.
“Local governments across Georgia have done a great job of executing the victims’ rights in our law, and they have shown our criminal justice system is equipped to handle the demands of protecting victims from further harm or fear,” said Sen. Hill. “Marsy’s Law gives those rights teeth if our criminal justice system fails to live up to its responsibilities to crime victims. As a community, we want to help those who have suffered harm through no fault of their own; this amendment is one way of doing that. I hope to see this legislation pass the General Assembly so that Georgia voters can vote on it next year.”
Marsy’s Law is currently under consideration in the state Senate, where it was introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R–Macon). In practice, the legislation would give constitutional guarantees to victims, including the right to notification about hearings or change of custody status for the offender and the right to have their voices heard in court and throughout the criminal justice process.
To amend the state constitution, Marsy’s Law must garner the support of 2/3s of both the House and Senate and then receive the support of the majority of Georgia voters at the next general election.
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For Immediate Release:
February 9, 2017
For Information Contact:
Ines Owens, Acting Director