Victim of Violent Crime Shares Her Heartbreaking Story in New Issue 1 Ad

COLUMBUS - The Yes on State Issue 1 campaign took to the airwaves this week with its second major television advertisement asking Ohio voters to support the Ohio crime victim bill of rights known as Marsy’s Law.

The spot emphasizes how crime victims sometimes have their privacy rights violated by spotlighting the case of Ronda Blankenship, an Akron crime victim whose family was murdered on New Year’s Eve 2013. During the subsequent trials of the killers, Blankenship was forced to turn over her personal diary, social media passwords and medical records despite a lack of relevance to the defense’s case.

"State Issue 1 will offer greater protections to crime victims by ensuring they have their day in court with a full hearing before a judge before they are forced to turn over private information," said Trevor Vessels, state director for Yes on State Issue 1. "Ronda’s case serves as a wake-up call to the abuses taking place in the system right now."

The 30-second ad is part of a significant statewide broadcast buy in the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown and Zanesville markets. A similar spot is planned to run on radio stations across Ohio starting Wednesday.

If voters approve the proposal this fall, State Issue 1 would grant a series of constitutional protections to crime victims and their immediate families for the first time in Ohio’s history.

Under the amendment, crime victims would have the right to notification of all proceedings as well as be guaranteed the right to be heard at every step of the process. Victims would also have the right to have input on all plea deals for offenders as well as the right to restitution resulting from the financial impact of the crime. A crime victim who feels their rights are being violated could go before a judge to ask that their rights be protected.

State Issue 1 is supported by a broad bipartisan coalition of more than 315 elected officials and law enforcement leaders across Ohio, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The effort to place State Issue 1 in the state constitution comes after similar ballot issues were approved in California, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The Marsy’s Law movement began in 1983, when a young woman named Marsy Nicholas was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Only a week after her murder, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they saw the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, had no idea the accused murderer had been released on bail.