On the November, 2018 ballot in Kentucky, there is a Kentucky Constitutional amendment known unofficially as “Marcy’s Law.” I will be voting “no” on this issue and I urge you to do the same if you are voting in Kentucky, or another state with a similar proposal. Here is why.
1. The proposed language to be changed in the Kentucky Constitution is not on the ballot. The proposal is very general. It is so general that you cannot know what you are voting for without significant searching, which most people will probably not do. It was not easy finding the exacting wording of the proposal. When I did I found a long list of things.
2. Even if some of these things are good ideas, they do not belong in a state constitution. Rather, they should be statute law. That way, if they do not all work out as hoped, they can more easily be changed.
3. The whole idea of “rights” connected to this proposal is wrong-headed. You do not, and should not, get a new set of “rights” because you have been the victim of a crime. For example, if someone accused of a crime against you is threatening you, you have a right not to be threatened not just because of the situation. It is the same right you had to be free of threats before any crime was committed.
4. What state governments can best do to protect victims is to quickly, but justly through due process, punish those who commit crimes against other citizens. If that is not being done adequately, it should be addressed by changing criminal codes, not amending a state constitution.
5. Other states that have passed similar amendments have had various kinds of problems that were not foreseen. You will have to look into the details of that for yourself.
6. Finally, appeals to (truly) pathetic stories of victims is almost never a good reason to amend a state constitution. It is far too easy to abandon reason in such matters and just accept the emotional appeal of it all.
So I am voting “NO” on the Constitutional Amendment on the Kentucky ballot for November 6, 2018.
I will be surprised, however, if it does not pass easily. Too many of us vote emotionally rather than rationally. But I can do nothing to change that. Only you can.