2. Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims
Question as it will appear on the ballot:
Constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for victims of crime; to establish certain absolute basic rights for victims; and to ensure the enforcement of these rights.
[ ] For [ ] Against
North Carolina’s constitution already guarantees rights for victims of certain crimes. The office of the North Carolina Secretary of State list the following: (1) the right to be informed of and present at proceedings related to the accused, (2) the right to be heard at the sentencing of the accused, (3) the right to receive restitution, (4) the right to information regarding the crime, how the criminal justice system works, and the rights and services available to victims, (5) the right to be informed about the final result of the case, (6) the right to be informed of an escape, release, or pardon, (7) the right to express views to the Governor or appropriate agency considering release, (8), the right to confer with the prosecutor.
If this amendment is approved by the citizens of North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Secretary of State, it would expand upon the rights of crime victims and also guarantee the following rights: (1) to be treated with dignity and respect, (2) reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of proceeding, upon request, (3) to be present at any proceeding, upon request, (4) to be reasonably heard at additional kinds of court hearings, (5) restitution in a reasonably timely manner, when ordered by the court, (6) information about the crime, upon request, and (7) to reasonably confer with the prosecutor.
Opponents argue these changes to the state’s judicial system are unnecessary, when there are already strong protections in place, and it would cost an additional $11 million or more each year.
Proponents of this amendment argue that it provides for victims of crime equal rights to those of the accused or those convicted of crimes. The amendment was inspired and based on what is known as Marsy’s Law. Six states, including North Carolina, are considering Marsy’s Law constitutional amendments in November. The approval of this amendment can also create a momentum for a constitutional amendment to protect victim’s rights to be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
*Marsy’s Law was named for Marsy Nicholas, a young woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her murder, Marsy’s parents walked into a grocery store and were confronted by her accused killer. The family had not been informed that he had been released from jail.
Christian Action League Position:
Today criminals are too-often viewed as victims and law-abiding citizens are seen as aggressors. Exodus chapters 21 and 22 teach the obligation of civil government to defend the interests and rights of victims of crime. A biblical understanding of justice is not so much that the criminal has “a debt to society” to pay, but first and foremost, the criminal owes a debt to his victim. It could be correctly argued that currently, a defendant possesses a greater status in North Carolina’s Constitution than crime victims. This amendment works to change this by strengthening victim’s rights and enshrining them into our state’s most sacred document.
Therefore, the Christian Action League supports this amendment.