David Voth: Marsy’s Law helps crime victims, but more can be done

None of us expect to be a victim of a crime, but with 83% of voters passing Marsy’s Law in Ohio during the November 2017 election, the playing field was evened and victims now have more rights to participate in the legal system.

Victims can now request the right to receive notification when their perpetrator is released from jail or prison, the right to be told about and attend public proceedings involving their case, and the right to be heard at these proceedings. Although victims are afforded these rights, not all are automatic. Victims must assert some rights under Marsy’s Law. Staff at Crime Victim Services can help victims know about and use their legal rights.

Crime Victim Services here in Allen and Putnam Counties has been working hard to help residents be aware of their new rights. We created and distributed palm-sized cards with victim rights and justice system information to all local law enforcement officers to give victims at the first point of contact after a crime. This change is not just a piece of paper. Now at crime scenes, defendants have Miranda Rights and victims have Marsy Rights, and Ohio victim rights are provided in writing by officers.