Written by Stephen Chen
On Nov. 6, the midterm elections, Georgia voters will vote to either support lawmaking efforts to include Marsy’s Law in the constitution or to remain with the status quo. The controversial Marsy’s Law, Amendment 4 on the ballot, “does about 17 different things, but the main purpose is to ensure victims always know the status and location of the accused,” explained Representative J. Craig Gordon (D) of District 163 (Savannah).
Marsy’s Law is a set of laws that “give Georgia’s crime victims equal rights,” as described by victimsrightsga.com, the official campaign of Marsy’s Law for Georgia.
Since the law’s first passage in California in 2008, it has been struck down by the Montana Supreme Court, thrown off the ballot in Florida, and found flawed and returned to voters in Nevada and South Dakota, as well as meeting oppositions from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), according to an article by the Nevada Current.
“Granting equal constitutional rights to a victim identified at the outset of criminal proceedings threatens due process and American Justice,” the ACLU published.
“There also is the question of the practicality of the law,” questioned Thomas A. Kuczajda, a practicing lawyer in Maryland and a former judicial clerk in Washington D.C., and “whether this process is the right process?”
“The voting process is one that is not very flexible,” said Kuczajda, “once the amendment is made, it’s hard to change or tweak.” “It’s hard to have a process to learn what’s working and what’s not,” he elaborated.
“Any empowerment and education we can give to the victims to help cope with the heinous crime committed against them is a good thing,” said Rep. Gordon, “hopefully it will help victims will safer; I support it.”
“I am only one vote,” concluded Rep. Gordon, “the people will have to decide when they go to the polls.”