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It’s a popular cause, but victims’ rights faces new backlash

The Associated Press - December 27, 2017 8:53 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – California billionaire Dr. Henry Nicholas became a fierce advocate for the rights of crime victims after his sister was slain and his mother ran into the accused killer in a grocery store.
He donated millions from his fortune as co-founder of tech giant Broadcom to create what has been labeled a “crime victims’ bill of rights,” dubbed Marsy’s Law.
The act asserts that courts must consider the safety of victims and families when setting bail and release conditions. The act protects and expands the legal rights of victims of crime to include the right to legal standing, protection from the defendant, notification of all court proceedings, and restitution, as well as granting parole boards far greater powers to deny inmates parole. It was added to California’s constitution in 2008.
Now Dr. Nicholas is taking his crusade nationwide, with lobbyists, public relations firms, and high-powered political strategists converging on state capitols for a similar push.
Montana approved the law in 2016, but the state’s Supreme Court recently tossed it out. Some advocates in favor of the law ask why the courts show more consideration to the criminals than to their victims. The law will appear on Oklahoma’s ballot in 2018.
Standing up for crime victims is an easy sell politically and has garnered bipartisan support. However, some critics contend that the initiative is a testament to the danger of unintended consequences.

 

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