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Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin





There has been a lot of talk this month (January 2019), about victim’s rights in domestic abuse cases. Today’s blog focuses on “Marsy’s law.”


  1.  Who is Marsy and what is her story?

Marsy’s law is named after Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas. She was a student attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, who was stalked by an ex boyfriend and subsequently murdered by him back in 1983.  A week after her passing, her mother was confronted by the alleged murderer and she had no idea that he had been released from jail with bail. The victim’s family were apparently not informed of the details of what was going on in criminal court, because at the time, the courts and law enforcement, had no obligation to keep the family informed.

The passage of what is now known as “Marsy’s law” in the state of California brought rights to the victim’s family. A form of the law also now exists in Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ohio. Victims of crime in such states,  must, by law, be treated with respect and dignity by the criminal courts. Courts  have to consider the safety of victims and their families when setting bail to the perpetrator and release terms. Family members bear legal standing in bail hearings, pleas, sentencing and parole hearings.

2. What is the status of Marsy’s law in Wisconsin?

Marsy’s law for Wisconsin, is a grassroots movement consisting of a broad coalition of citizens in this state working to create equal rights for victims of crime. The legislation has passed on first consideration as a Senate Joint Resolution (53), but must be passed again in order to be included in the Wisconsin constitution. If passed, these rights will constitutionally guarantee victims the ability to enforce their rights in court.

Legislators will need to pass Mary’s law in 2019,  in order for voters to ratify the amendment in the  April 2019 elections. If the law were to pass, victims could begin utilizing their rights under the law as soon as July 2019.

If you have questions about victims’ rights or Domestic Violence cases, contact the experienced family lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today.

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