Signature Gatherers Hope to Add Victim’s Rights to Montana Constitution
Today, November 11, signature gatherers began hitting the streets for a proposed change to the Montana constitution. The ballot initiative, known as Marsy’s Law, will require over 48,000 signatures to get on the ballot and, if approved, will give crime victims the right to testify before sentencing and the right to be notified when about developments in criminal cases. Chuck Denowh from Marcy’s Law for Montana explains why he’s a supporter of the initiative.
"Montana is one of just 18 states right now that does not provide Constitutional protections for victims of crimes, Denowh said. We do provide constitutional protection for those accused of crime or who are convicted of crime, and we feel that crime victims should be afforded the same level of rights as the criminals."
Backers of the law hope that the law will help protect victims from further abuse by their attackers. The movement was started in California after the murder of Marsy Nicholas.
"Marsy was a college student from California who was stalked and murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 1983 and about a week after her murder, her mother and her brother, Henry, were confronted by that murderer in a grocery store... they had no idea that he had been let out on bail" Denowh said.
Marcy’s Law was added to the California State Constitution in 2008 and has since been involved in numerous cases. Last November, voters decided to add it to the Illinois State Constitution as well.