Contact: Myranda Tanck
Measure provides equal rights for crime victims; law now covers almost 134 million Americans
MADISON – Wisconsin voters, in a historic election that saw more than a million people cast ballots despite the COVID-19 pandemic, overwhelmingly approved Marsy’s Law, ensuring that equal rights for crime victims are enumerated in the state constitution.
Wisconsin joins Pennsylvania, Nevada, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, California, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota in passing Marsy’s Law, ensuring that more than 40% of Americans now live in states that have rights they can assert in the criminal justice system should they ever become crime victims.
The victory in Wisconsin adds another almost six million people who now have the constitutional protections provided by Marsy’s Law. Nationwide, almost 140 million citizens are covered under Marsy’s Law, or more than 40% of the population.
Dr. Henry Nicholas, founder of Marsy’s Law for All, said the election results demonstrate Wisconsin voters’ demand that crime victims be treated with equal consideration to perpetrators and the accused.
“This is a tremendous victory for crime victims in Wisconsin and yet another resounding victory for crime victims everywhere in our goal of enacting Marsy’s Law nationwide,” Nicholas said. “Despite the unprecedented conditions created by the current health crisis, Wisconsin voters responded to the importance of providing equal rights for crime victims. I could not be more grateful to the people of Wisconsin for this victory.”
Marsy’s Law is named after Dr. Nicholas’ sister, Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas. Marsy was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Dr. Nicholas’ home state of California was the first to pass Marsy’s Law.
Unlike those who are accused of a crime, crime victims and their families in 15 states have no enumerated constitutional rights.
Marsy’s Law for All Fast Facts
- In 2008, with 54%, Marsy’s Law passed and became law in California.
- In 2014, voters in Illinois passed Marsy’s Law by a resounding 78%, one of the largest constitutional votes in Illinois history.
- In 2016, voters North Dakota (62%) and South Dakota (60%) overwhelmingly passed Marsy’s Law in their states.
- In 2017, Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law by an incredible 83%.
- In 2018, Marsy’s Law succeeded in Oklahoma (78%), North Carolina (62%), Nevada (61%), Florida (62%) and Georgia (80%).
- In 2019, Marsy’s Law passed in Pennsylvania overwhelmingly.
- Marsy’s Law for All is active in a number of other states across the country that don’t provide equal rights for crime victims.
Marsy’s Law for All: Enforceable Constitutional Rights
Marsy’s Law is about providing victims of crime with meaningful, enforceable rights. While the specific rights can vary from state to state, every state that passes Marsy’s Law has these core rights:
- the right to timely notice of proceedings;
- the right to be present;
- the right to be heard; and
- the right to standing before the judge, or an appellate court, if a victim feels their rights have been violated.