Marsy’s Law, also known as the crime victims bill of rights, requires that victims and their families are kept informed and given the opportunity to speak throughout the criminal process. Provisions of Marsy’s Law have been controversial and potentially at odds with the due process rights of all the accused. For example, if Marsy’s Law requires that victims be informed and permitted to attend all hearings, must bond hearing be delayed to permit such notice and attendance even if this means a defendant spends unnecessary time in jail pretrial? Similarly, must a victim be permitted to sit and hear the evidence at a trial when the victim is also going to be a witness in that same trial? This webinar will explore the Constitutional, legal and practical challenges that make Marsy’s Law controversial. Particular focus will be paid to the experience of South Dakota, where Marsy’s Law passed in 2016, but was amended in 2018.
Traci Smith, Chief Public Defender, Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office; Ryan Kolbeck, Defense Attorney, Sioux Falls, South Dakota