MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution expanding crime victims’ rights was properly worded in a statewide referendum and legally adopted, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
Voters ratified the amendment, known as Marsy's Law, in April 2020. The Wisconsin Justice Initiative sued, arguing that the amendment’s scope wasn’t fully described on ballots.
The court ruled 6-1 on Tuesday that the description was proper. The process outlined in the constitution for amending the document doesn't require an explanation of every element of the amendment on ballots, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote. The amendment was properly submitted to the people and is therefore valid, he wrote.
Dennis Grzezinski, an attorney representing the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, didn't immediately respond Tuesday morning to an email seeking comment.
The Wisconsin Constitution and state law provide a host of victim rights. The amendment largely duplicates that existing language but goes further in a number of areas.
For example, it grants victims the right to seal information or records that could be used to locate them and the right to be heard at plea and parole hearings. They also can opt out of participating in depositions conducted by defense attorneys or opposing attorneys in civil matters, making it harder for criminal defendants to sue them.
Nearly a dozen states have adopted similar laws expanding crime victims’ rights.
Supporters have dubbed the amendments “Marsy’s Law” for California college student Marsalee Nicholas, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her brother has funded efforts to put the amendments in place across the country.
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Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.