Marsy's Law

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Marsy's Law amendment aimed to spell out new rights for victims of sexual and domestic violence in New Hampshire.

And despite having the backing of Governor Chris Sununu, and key lawmakers in both parties, the measure failed badly in the New Hampshire House.

But according to state filings, money doesn't appear to have been the problem. The campaign behind the effort, Marsy's Law For New Hampshire, spent $367,000 to boost the proposal.

NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into phone calls made to lawmakers about a proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law.

In the days leading up to the vote on Marsy’s Law, several state representatives say they received strange calls from people who said they were reaching out in support of the amendment on behalf of other lawmakers or the Marsy’s Law campaign.

But those lawmakers and the Marsy’s Law campaign say they never made those calls.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law failed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Thursday, despite a well-organized and well-financed effort by supporters.

The amendment would have created a list of constitutional rights designed to give crime victims a greater say in the court system. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 20, 2018

Apr 20, 2018

Legislators find the state may be on the hook to pay a lot more money to hospitals for people with no insurance or for those on Medicaid.  A proposed constitutional amendment that would give crime victims more rights gets hung up in a House committee.  And the state emphasizes cost and competition in its new energy plan. 

NHPR Staff

A proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law hit a road block with House lawmakers Wednesday.

The amendment is designed to give victims of crime a greater say in the criminal justice system by establishing a list of constitutional rights.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 13, 2018

Apr 13, 2018

We look at the impact Paul Ryan's retirement may have, if any, on congressional races in New Hampshire. Former Democratic State Senator Molly Kelly decides to run for governor.  Debates over voting laws and victims' rights draw crowds at the statehouse.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A proposed amendment to the state constitution known as Marsy's Law faced tough questions in a hearing before House lawmakers on Tuesday.

The proposal is designed to give victims of crime greater say in the court system by enshrining a list of constitutional rights.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The New Hampshire senate has approved a constitutional amendment designed to give victims more rights in the criminal justice system.

The amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, would give crime victims a larger voice in court proceedings.

Among other things, it would give victims the constitutional right to be notified of any change in the status of their offender, the right to confer with the prosecutor, and the right to protection from the accused.

Ellen Grimm for NHPR

A constitutional amendment designed to give crime victims more rights is leaving a Senate committee with a positive recommendation.

The amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, would give crime victims constitutional rights in the criminal justice system.

Supporters envision it as a parallel to the Miranda rights of the accused. Opponents argue it could interfere with due process for criminal defendants.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee signed off on the amendment by a 4 to 1 vote. It’s expected to get a vote by the full Senate this Thursday.

A proposal to amend the state constitution is stirring debate among lawmakers and legal experts in New Hampshire.

The so-called Marsy’s Law amendment would insert specific rights for crime victims into the state constitution.

As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, a well-financed campaign has brought the same debate to more than a dozen other states at the same time.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A proposal to enshrine victims' rights in the New Hampshire Constitution has notable backers, including Gov. Chris Sununu, but some say it's too broad and vague.

Buzz Scherr, chairman of International Criminal Law and Justice Programs at UNH School of Law, is in this camp.

He also contends supporters are distorting the rights currently provided by state law.

Pixaby

Marsy's Law is a nationwide effort to bolster the rights of crime victims.  Now there is a bill in the New Hampshire legislature to put these rights into the constitution.  It  has bipartisan support, and the Governor's endorsement, but there are concerns about possible unintended consequences, and some hesitation over constitutional change.

This program will air on Thursday,  January 8 at 9 a.m., and will be rebroadcast again at 7 p.m. Audio of the discussion will be available after the show. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

A proposal to amend the New Hampshire constitution had its first public hearing at the state house today. The amendment is designed to give crime victims more rights in the criminal justice system.

Today’s hearing drew some big name supporters but also some unexpected opponents. NHPR reporter Jason Moon was at the hearing and he joins me now to talk about it.

So, what is this victims’ rights amendment? What sort of rights would it give a victim?