Press Release: Local Victim Rights Groups Partner with National Organization to Pursue Equal Rights for Crime Victims in South Dakota

Local Victim Rights Groups Partner with National Organization to Pursue Equal Rights for Crime Victims in South Dakota

Passing Marsy’s Law would provide victims of crime with rights equal to those already provided to those accused and convicted of crimes.

marsys lawMarsy’s Law for South Dakota, an organization composed of citizens and victim rights organizations in South Dakota, announced today that it is starting the petition process to place an initiated constitutional amendment on the 2016 General Election ballot for consideration of the voters.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas. Marsy was a beautiful, vibrant University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, her mother Marcella and her brother Nick walked into a grocery store after visiting her daughter’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail.

Marsy’s family’s story is typical of the pain and suffering that the family members of murder victims have endured. The Nicholas family was not informed because the courts and law enforcement, though well meaning, had no obligation to keep them informed.  Passing the Crime Victims Bills of Rights will ensure that future victims of violent crimes have Constitutional rights, and a formal voice in the criminal justice process.

Dr. Henry Nicholas, Marsy’s brother, has made it his mission in life to give victims and their families across the country constitutional protections and equal rights.

A constitutional amendment for victims’ rights, if adopted in South Dakota, would guarantee equal rights to crime victims. Victims and their families would receive information about their rights and the services available to them. They would have the right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in the criminal case. They would have the right to receive timely notifications changes to the offender’s custodial status.

Victims and their families would have the right to be present at court proceedings and provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized. They would have the right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release. Finally, they would have the right to restitution.

Marsy’s Law for South Dakota also announced today that attorney Jason Glodt will serve as its new State Director. Glodt, 42 of Pierre, is a former Assistant Attorney General and Senior Policy Advisor to Governors Rounds and Daugaard. Glodt also has over 20 years of experience managing campaigns in South Dakota and is a founding partner of GSG Strategies.

“I started my professional career as a prosecutor fighting for victims of crime,” said Glodt, “I am very excited to be back in a position where I will be working to help victims. Marsy’s Law is not a Republican, Democrat or Independent issue. We should all embrace it. That’s why we have put our political differences aside in support of Marsy’s Law for South Dakota. We are going to build a strong statewide grassroots organization and I look forward to working with crime victims groups and other citizens who support this worthy cause.”

“Thirty-two states already have some constitutional rights in place for victims of crime,” said Glodt “Unfortunately, South Dakota is one of eighteen states that currently does not have any constitutional rights for victims of crime, but we hope to change that.”


3 thoughts on “Press Release: Local Victim Rights Groups Partner with National Organization to Pursue Equal Rights for Crime Victims in South Dakota”

  1. “A victim shall have the following rights at the time of victimization.” Copy and paste another state’s constitution into South Dakota’s and hope it all works out. This is exactly the reason we have a state legislature and a hearing process for proposed laws; so, we do not enact laundry lists of well-intentioned, redundant silliness such as this amendment. I hope for all of our sakes’ no one abuses victimization to circumvent our due process because that is exactly how it can be interpreted by a judge or lawyer.

  2. This is certainly a laudable goal but the specific implementation of this proposal is not in the best interests of the citizens of this state. The justice system has sufficient protections for victims at this time as most of the specific requests in the petition are already covered by current law. If a victim feels slighted by a local prosecutor there is always the ballot box to express their displeasure. I have yet to see a Judge ignore the feelings of victims and they are allowed the right to be heard. However, the overly broad language of this proposal to be enshrined in the state constitution could be devastating to the system on multiple levels. I am especially surprised that such a large unfunded government mandate would be supported by a South Dakota Republican.

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