Marsy’s Law

The rights of those accused of crimes are well established and much of the legal code was built around ensuring that they are protected form unjust behavior. However, in many states the rights of victims were unfortunately overlooked until recently. While the protections offered to victims during any subsequent legal proceedings vary from state to state, Marsy’s law in Ohio provides a good basis for setting expectations.

In 2017 the citizens of Ohio voted to pass a Constitutional Amendment that affords victims of crime the following rights that “shall be protected in a manner no less vigorous than the rights afforded to the accused”:

(1) to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity and privacy;

(2) upon request, to reasonable and timely notice of all public proceedings involving the criminal offense or delinquent act against the victim, and to be present at all such proceedings;

(3) to be heard in any public proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, or parole, or in any public proceeding in which a right of the victim is implicated;

(4) to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused;

(5) upon request, to reasonable notice of any release or escape of the accused;

(6) except as authorized by section 10 of Article I of this constitution, to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused;

(7) to full and timely restitution from the person who committed the criminal offense or delinquent act against the victim;

(8) to proceedings free from unreasonable delay and a prompt conclusion of the case;

(9) upon request, to confer with the attorney for the government; and

(10) to be informed, in writing, of all rights enumerated in this section.

Ohio Constitution, Art. I Sec. 10a(A).

These are protections mandated by the Ohio Constitution. It is very important to law enforcement and prosecutor’s offices that these requirements are followed, and speedy justice is served to victims across Ohio.

Prior to the passage of Marsy’s Law, victims of crime were unable to have their own counsel present in Court advocating for them on criminal matters. Section 10a(B) now provides that victims can have their own counsel, and if any of the enumerated rights are violated, counsel “may petition the court of appeals.” Ohio Constitution, Art. I Sec. 10a(B).

While the Prosecutors and Victim’s Advocates in Central Ohio are excellent at assisting victims, there are benefits to hiring your own counsel. Having a Marsy’s Law attorney is particularly beneficial where there is a related domestic matter; your Marsy’s Law attorney can convey important procedural information about your case to the prosecutor and judge to ensure that the criminal case does not negatively impact your domestic one. Additionally, after the case is over and your abuser is on probation, your Marsy’s Law attorney can convey information regarding probation violations to the prosecutor’s office and probation officer, and work to ensure that your rights are being represented.