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Thread: ‘Victims’ Rights’ Proposals Like Marsy’s Law Undermine Due Process

  1. #1

    ‘Victims’ Rights’ Proposals Like Marsy’s Law Undermine Due Process

    This may have already been posted, but search showed nothing....


    Since 2008, a national campaign entitled “Marsy’s Law” has sought to enshrine in state constitutions a specific and lengthy set of victims’ rights. Funded by California billionaire Henry Nicholas, the campaign’s goal is to lock its formula into every state constitution and then to amend the U.S. Constitution to include similar victims’ rights. Though well intended, the Marsy’s Law formula is poorly drafted and is a threat to existing constitutional rights.

    Marsy’s Law has hit resistance in states in which legislatures must approve a constitutional amendment before it goes to the voters. The New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted down Marsy’s Law by a vote of 284 to 51. The Idaho Legislature voted down similar legislation for the second time this year. However, Marsy’s Law will be on the ballot in a handful of states wherein only signatures are needed to put an issue before the voters in November. The potential impact of Marsy’s Law, both at the state and national level, warrants national attention and alarm.

    Marsy’s Law is premised on the notion that victims should have “equal rights” to defendants. This opening salvo is a seductive appeal to one’s sense of fairness. However, the notion that victims’ rights can be equated to the rights of the accused is a fallacy. It ignores the very different purposes these two sets of rights serve.

    The U.S. Constitution and all 50 state constitutions guarantee defendants’ rights because they are rights against the state, not because they are valued more by society than victims’ rights. Defendants’ rights only apply when the state is attempting to deprive the accused – not the victim – of life, liberty, or property. They serve as essential checks against government abuse, preventing the government from arresting and imprisoning anyone, for any reason, at any time.

    Victims’ rights are not rights against the state. Instead, they are rights against another individual. The Marsy’s Law formula includes the rights to restitution, to reasonable protection, and to refuse depositions and discovery requests, all of which are enforced against the defendant. Such rights do nothing to check the power of the government. In fact, many of the provisions in Marsy’s Law could actually strengthen the state’s hand against a defendant, undermining a bedrock principle of our legal system — the presumption of innocence.

    This risk further underscores one of the overarching concerns about Marsy’s Law: It pits victims’ rights against defendants’ rights. Creating such a conflict means that defendants’ rights may lose in certain circumstances. This result accepts that defendants’ rights against the state will be weakened or unenforced in some cases, potentially at a significant cost to constitutional due process. In other words, the chances that an innocent person could be convicted of a crime they did not commit could potentially increase. The proponents of Marsy’s Law may not intend for this outcome, but nothing in their formula prevents it.

    continued..https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-l...ne-due-process
    "The Patriarch"



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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    The Marsy’s Law formula includes the rights to restitution, to reasonable protection, and to refuse depositions and discovery requests, all of which are enforced against the defendant.
    I've been ignoring this law because I thought it was about who gets to speak at parole hearings and similar trivia.

    But that's extremely problematic; if the victim/accuser can ignore discovery requests, the accused pretty much can't put up a defense.
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken

  4. #3

  5. #4
    Granting special rights to a special class of citizens, no matter how noble the intent, is always wromg. Sadly, do-gooders never tireof trying.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    Granting special rights to a special class of citizens, no matter how noble the intent, is always wromg. Sadly, do-gooders never tireof trying.
    I did not vote on the 5th, but I wholeheartedly opposed this amendment. The American people still have not caught on to the fact that if it sounds good, it is bad. Simply because they don’t read. Gooooo Patriot! [Act]


    The Pennsylvania Marsy's Law Crime Victims Rights Amendment was on the ballot in Pennsylvania as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 5, 2019. A majority of electors voted to approve the ballot measure. However, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court enjoined Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar from certifying election results, pending a court ruling on whether the amendment violates the state constitution's requirement that separate amendments receive separate votes. Read more about the lawsuit here: League of Women Voters of PA and Haw v. Boockvar


    Andy Hoover, communications director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said, "Contrast these [defendants’ rights] with victims’ rights, which arise out of a dispute between two private people. One person’s rights against another person are fundamentally different than a person’s rights against the awesome power of the government. This is why our Constitution, which lays out the restrictions on government power, includes defendants’ rights and why victims’ rights are primarily contained in statute."


    The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) filed a statement with the state Senate Judiciary Committee opposing Marsy's Law. An excerpt from the statement said, "This attempt at balancing the rights of the accused and the victim, especially in the face of the government’s vast resources and prosecutorial power, runs contrary to the reason why the Bill of Rights was enshrined in the Constitution – namely, to protect the accused, particularly those who are marginalized and unpopular, from government overreach. The state provides constitutional rights to the accused in criminal proceedings because the state is attempting to deprive the accused – not the victim – of life, liberty, and property."


    Bradley Winnick, president of PACDL and chief public defender for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, said, "You have an alleged victim now having a right essentially to a speedy trial. A 230-year-old due process right is being trampled on by someone who has done nothing but make an allegation."
    Links and more information here: https://ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania...endment_(2019)
    “The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.”

    Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3)

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PAF View Post
    I did not vote on the 5th, but I wholeheartedly opposed this amendment. The American people still have not caught on to the fact that if it sounds good, it is bad. Simply because they don’t read. Gooooo Patriot! [Act]




    Links and more information here: https://ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania...endment_(2019)

    Welcome back. You were missed.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    Welcome back. You were missed.
    Thanks CCTelander. Not sure how long I’ll stick around but I still read you and others from time to time.

    I was talking to a coworker about the election, my analogy was that it is like the NFL. Both teams play against one another, but both sides endorse and play by the same rules of the overseeing and controlling NFL. Individual freedom and liberty can’t seem to sink in.
    “The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.”

    Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3)

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by PAF View Post
    I did not vote on the 5th, but I wholeheartedly opposed this amendment. The American people still have not caught on to the fact that if it sounds good, it is bad. Simply because they don’t read. Gooooo Patriot! [Act]
    But but but, it even says PATRIOT in the name...
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PAF View Post
    Thanks CCTelander. Not sure how long I’ll stick around but I still read you and others from time to time.

    I was talking to a coworker about the election, my analogy was that it is like the NFL. Both teams play against one another, but both sides endorse and play by the same rules of the overseeing and controlling NFL. Individual freedom and liberty can’t seem to sink in.

    Well, I for one hope you stick around. We've lost too many good people already.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    Well, I for one hope you stick around. We've lost too many good people already.
    Seconded
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken

  13. #11
    There is an elemental error in the premise of the proposal that the article (as far as you quoted) doesn't address: there is a categorical difference between a victim and an accuser.
    ΟΥ ΓΑΡ ЄCΤΙΝ ЄξΟΥCΙΑ ЄΙ ΜΗ ΥΠΟ ΘЄΟΥ

    "Patriotism should come from loving thy neighbor, not from worshiping graven images" - Ironman77

    "ideas have the potential of being more powerful than any army....The concept of personal sovereignty was pulled screaming from the ether into this reality by the force of men believing in a self evident truth, that men are meant to be free." - The Northbreather

    "Trump is the security blanket of aggrieved white men aged 18-60." - Pinoy



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