Roger Kaseman: Wrigley Has It Wrong On Marsy's Law

marsy's law

A few months ago my wife and I had dinner at the Olive Garden. I sat in a booth a short distance from Kathleen Wrigley, her husband, and children. Wrigley is chairing the committee supporting the Marsy’s Law measure which I recently criticized in a post.

I do not believe she noticed me, but if she did, Mrs. Wrigley was not close enough to use her apparent clairvoyant powers to read my heart and mind as they relate to the victims of crime. Thus I will ignore Mrs. Wrigley’s reading of my character in her response to my criticism in which she extrapolated a phantom bias against victims.

I will gladly debate the unintended consequences of Marsy’s Law, and just as gladly leave the mudslinging and fish frying to others. I will admit that I do have a defined, sophisticated bias in favor of an impartial criminal justice system. Just because I oppose a constitutional fiasco in the making, does not make me anti-victim or anti-law enforcement.

I helped put murderers on death row without the slightest twinge of conscience or regret.

On May 4, 1999, at 12:29 a.m., the warden and staff at San Quentin Prison executed Manuel Pina Babbitt for the vicious beating, sexual assault, and murder of 78-year-old Leah Schendel. Babbitt, convicted of Schendel’s murder, committed several other murders for which he did not stand trial.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]I stood over the body of Leah Schendel, Babbitt’s victim. I examined her battered body. I witnessed her autopsy. I helped put Babbitt on death row. I would do it again in a heartbeat and with a clear conscience.[/mks_pullquote]

I stood over the body of Leah Schendel, Babbitt’s victim. I examined her battered body. I witnessed her autopsy. I helped put Babbitt on death row. I would do it again in a heartbeat and with a clear conscience.

In researching and refreshing my memory of the Schendel murder, I learned that Babbitt’s last words were “I forgive all of you.” I assume he included me in his forgiveness. I didn’t need Babbitt’s forgiveness in 1999, and I still don’t. He should have asked forgiveness from God and Lea Schendel’s family and the families of his other victims. To my knowledge, he did neither. He and he alone placed himself on death row. I simply helped document his actions; he destroyed his own life.

In her report on my character regarding victims, Mrs. Wrigley writes that the definition of a Marsy’s Law victims is, “….. the exact same definition of victim North Dakota currently has in statute. The exact same.”

January 9, 2016, Shane Goettle, Esquire, and an enlisted soldier in Mrs. Wrigley’s crusade, wrote, “Marsy’s Law for North Dakota has been written to match our existing statutes and to meet our needs.”

Shane Goettle again: “…. what is outlined in Marsy’s Law for North Dakota is not new – it was written based on our existing statutory laws.”

Shane Goettle a third time: “Let me be clear, nothing in Marsy’s Law for North Dakota is new legal ground. And virtually all of it is currently in statute.”

Pam Perleberg, writing in the February 8, 2016 edition of AgWeek in support of Marcy’s Law: “Nothing in Marsy’s Law is new material. It all exists either in current state law, federal law or in other states’ laws. There is no mystery as to how it will work or whether it is feasible. There is no question it is sound, legal protocol.”

Mrs. Wrigley, Shane Goettle, and Pam Perleberg are dead wrong; Marcy’s Law is not sound legal protocol.

Mrs. Wrigley, Mr. Goettle, and Perleberg admit that North Dakota has statutory law on the books which addresses the issues the supporters of Marcy’s Law wish to lock into our state constitution. We have enough law on the books to protect victims.

We have law on the books which does what Mrs. Wrigley and her band of crusaders are proposing. Why do we need another law on the books? We have enough redundancy and duplication in state government at all levels; we don’t need more.

The sponsors backing the initiative say it was written specifically for the North Dakota justice system. That is false. California billionaire Henry Nicholas initiated and financed the California measure which voters passed in 2008.