MINOT, N.D. — The criminal justice proceedings around the death of Cayler Ellingson have been fraught from the beginning.
The case made national headlines when conspiracy mongers in Donald Trump’s shameful political cult pounced on a police report which implied that Shannon Brandt, the man accused of murdering Ellingson, had done so because the victim was a Republican.
It was bunkum, as has now been demonstrated by the release of the 911 call recording, but don’t expect any apologies from the Facebook demagogues and cable news pundits who ghoulishly turned Ellingson’s death into another front in the culture wars.
But now the case is making headlines for another reason, this time thanks to Marsy’s Law, an ill-advised amendment to our state constitution, paid for by a skeezy billionaire and implemented through North Dakota’s egregiously stupid initiated measure process.
Marsy’s Law purports to be about victim’s rights, but as predicted by the lawyers and prosecutors and judges whose warnings were drowned out by the initiated measure campaign’s well-financed marketing blitz, it’s an impediment to justice. Though not typically in cases as high-profile as this one.