Earlier this year a group of North Dakotans, headed by Kathleen Wrigley, launched an effort to bring Marsy’s Law to North Dakota.
Marsy’s Law is named after the sister of California Henry Nicholas who has, according to financial disclosures so far, been bankrolling the effort here in North Dakota. It is a constitutional amendment which its supporters say will enhance the rights of victims under the law.
Critics, which include myself, argue that the measure accomplishes this by diminishing the rights of the accused.
According to a press release just sent out by the Marsy’s Law committee (see below), they’ll be turning in their signatures to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow. According to their timeline they had until July 11 to turn in over 26,904 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
So they’re a little early. But then that’s not surprising. As we’ve learned, you can put just about anything on the statewide ballot through the initiated measure process if you throw enough money at the petition drive.
Anyway, it looks like we’ll have a vigorous debate over this measure during the election cycle, though I think its supporters are a bit behind the eight ball. Already the state’s criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors – two groups you don’t typically expect to see on the same side of any given issue – are opposed to the measure.
Still, this is a well-funded effort, and it pits the rights of criminal defendants, who aren’t terribly sympathetic in the eyes of the public, against the victims of crimes, who are very sympathetic, which makes for an interesting dynamic.
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