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Both Sides of North Dakota Blogosphere Agree: Marsy’s Law Unnecessary

In the South Dakota Blogosphere, this liberal outpost opposes Amendment S, the redundant astroturf crime victims bill of rights known nationally as Marsy’s Law, while my opposite if flaccid conservative pole takes ad money from the California-billionaire-backed campaign and runs the press releases from the campaign’s well-connected GOP consultant.

Meanwhile, in the North Dakota Blogosphere, that state’s version of Marsy’s Law appears to have no friends. Left-leaning North Dakota blogger and lawyer Chad Nodland opposes it; so do Jim Fuglie and former judge Tom Davies.

Even conservative Rob Port says North Dakota doesn’t need Marsy’s Law. Noting that the North Dakota measure has lost the support of the only prosecutor to publicly endorse it, Port says Marsy’s Law sounds good but doesn’t withstand serious scrutiny:

This ballot measure, while born of pure motives and noble ideas, would be a detriment to criminal justice in North Dakota.

If only people like [Stark County State’s Attorney Tom] Henning, instead of endorsing the measure based on superficial descriptions, had taken the time to understand it first.

A criminal case is an adversarial process between the state and the accused. Giving victims rights in those proceedings creates conflicts which diminish the rights of the accused and the ability of the state to prosecute crimes.

North Dakota does a pretty good job protecting victims already. I just don’t think we need this ballot measure [Rob Port, “Marsy’s Law Committee Loses Support From Prosecutor,” Say Anything, 2016.05.16].

Port has noted that North Dakota’s defense attorneys and prosecutors consider Marsy’s Law unnecessary and that support from law enforcement is mixed at best.

I haven’t seen South Dakota organizations weighing in yet, but one article in that Sioux Falls paper last December indicated opposition from local defense attorneys and Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGowan. But since South Dakota already has a crime victims bill of rights written into state law, it seems likely that we’ll see a cross-partisan consensus like that cropping up in North Dakota concluding that Amendment S/Marsy’s Law is an unnecessary alteration to our constitution.

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