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Glodt Wrong: Amendment S Invades Victims’ Privacy by Extending Rights to Family and Others

Amendment S, California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas’s redundant vanity bill, offers this definition of “crime victim”:

As used in this section, the term, victim, means a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act or against whom the crime or delinquent act is committed. The term also includes any spouse, parent, grandparent, child, sibling, grandchild, or guardian, and any person with a relationship to the victim that is substantially similar to a listed relationship, and includes a lawful representative of a victim who is deceased, incompetent, a minor, or physically or mentally incapacitated [Amendment S, original text, received by Secretary of State 2016.08.11].

In Victoria Wicks’s latest SDPB report on Amendment S, Nicholas’s paid campaign leader in South Dakota, Jason Glodt, contends that the above definition only includes family members who have suffered direct harm. “To be a victim, you have be harmed,” Glodt tells Wicks. “I think the language is very clear.”

I agree the language is clear. The first sentence of the above definition says a person who suffers direct or threatened harm is a victim. The second sentence says “also” that certain relatives of that direct victim are victims themselves. The second sentence does not include any condition of direct or threatened harm.

Amendment S thus warrants the privacy concerns that retired counselor Karen Miller raises in the Wicks interview:

Miller says a victim should be able to control that flow of information to relatives.

“If I were raped, I wouldn’t want my son to know necessarily. I certainly wouldn’t want him to be notified all the time this was going on. I might choose to tell him, but I don’t want the prosecutor to be telling him” [Victoria Wicks, “Counselor Says Marsy’s Law Violates Victims’ Confidentiality; Glodt Says It Increases Privacy,” SDPB Radio, 2016.10.14].

Amendment S is supposed to increase crime victims’ rights, but as Miller explains, the overly expansive definition of “victim” appears to degrade crime victims’ privacy rights.


  1. Rorschach 2016-10-17 09:12

    Glodt is wrong, and he knows he’s wrong. The above-cited provision defines others as victim simply by virtue of their familial relationship with the actual victim. The family members need not suffer any harm whatsoever to be classified as victims. This seems to be the intent of Mr. Nicholas, who wanted himself and his mother classified as victims after his sister Marcy was harmed.

    Under this definition, every member of a family is automatically a “victim” when somebody in their family is a “victim.” We’re all victims under Marsy’s Constitutional Amendment.

  2. Jana 2016-10-17 10:32

    Michael Wyland brings up an interesting piece for the good right-to-life/anti-choice crowd to consider in that Marcy’s Law places ‘right to privacy’ in the state Constitution.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-17 11:59

    Jana, where is that Wyland article?

    Ror, that legal reading is ironclad: the relatives and others granted “victim” status need experience no direct harm to claim the rights granted under S. Nicholas’s intent there (or just poor drafting) should disqualify this amendment.

  4. Jana 2016-10-17 12:03

    Over at the Power’s sycophant website. Comment under 10 minute in the ballot booth post.

  5. DR 2016-10-17 17:21

    I saw somewhere this weekend that the next States Attorney for Brown County Chris White said this amendment will bankrupt already strapped county governments?

    CAH any truth to this?

  6. grudznick 2016-10-17 17:53

    This is why I am encouraging all low-information voters who do not understand the right and conservative way to vote to Vote NO on Everything. Even the referred law bills can be voted NO on if you also vote NO on every initiated measure.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-18 11:56

    DR, I can’t speak to exact numbers, but the states attorneys in Minnehaha and Pennington counties have raised similar cost concerns: to fulfill the unfunded mandates of Amendment S to notify this expanded class of “victims” of actions on an expanded class of defendants (accused and convicted), county officials would have to make a lot more phone calls, write and send a lot more letters, and have a lot more meetings with “victims”. Calls, letters, and meetings require time and staff. Either county staff will spend less time doing other jobs, or county staff will work more hours, or we will have to hire more county staff. Two of those three options cost money.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-18 11:57

    Grudz, of course, would prefer not to educate voters. I prefer to educate them so they can give good reasons like the above for voting NO on S and then learning the advantages that justify voting YES on 21, 22, 23, T, and V.

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