Currently, in the United States, the U.S. Constitution and every state constitution has enumerated rights for individuals accused of a crime and those convicted of a crime. Yet, the U.S. Constitution and nine (9) state constitutions do not extend enumerated rights to victims of crime. Pennsylvania is one of those states.
House Bill 276, which was unanimously passed in both the Pennsylvania State House and Senate, addresses this lack of protections for crime victims. House Bill 276 is a proposed constitutional amendment, known nationally as “Marsy’s Law,” and will ensure that victims enjoy equal footing with offenders, and ensure that victims have some kind of redress when their rights are violated.
A crime victims’ bill of rights will require that the Commonwealth protect the rights of victims no less vigorously than the rights of the accused. It will require notice of hearings and other proceedings, physical and emotional protection from the accused, notice to the victim in cases of release or escape, proceedings free from unnecessary delay, the ability to confer with the prosecutor in the case, and full and timely restitution from the offender.
Marsy’s Law is not a partisan issue. Giving crime victims equal rights is a rare political issue that Republicans and Democrats are unified in supporting.
The bill must now be approved by voters in a ballot referendum before it can be added to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine, Jr., supports the passage of House Bill 276 and asks that voters in Monroe County vote yes to the Marsy’s Law referendum on November 5, 2019.
For more information on Marsy’s Law open the info sheet on the left.
For details about House Bill 276, please visit the bill’s page on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s HERE.