Hogue proposes "Marsy's Law" Legislative fix

Mar 6, 2018

The chairman of the Legislature’s interim Judiciary Committee is drafting a bill to help clarify Marsy’s law.

That’s the initiated Constitutional amendment on victims’ rights voters passed in 2016.

Sen. David Hogue (R-Minot) said his bill would require a crime victim to affirmatively invoke Marsy’s law, rather than assuming it’s automatic.

"Of all the rights they (crime victims) have, in over half of them, it specifically says the Marsy's Law rights have to be asserted by the victim," Hogue said. "In some of them, it's silent."

Hogue said because of that, law enforcement, prosecutors and courts have had questions about the need for victims to assert their rights.

"That's one of those questions we can answer statutorily," Hogue said.

Hogue said there’s no need for another Constitutional amendment. He said the courts have allowed clarifying statutes to take care of questions surrounding Constitutional amendments. And Hogue said in some cases,  like those who have suffered property crimes, the victims don’t care about Marsy’s Law.

"If they're minor property crime victims, they don't want the hassle," Hogue said.

Hogue wants to introduce it in the 2019 Legislature.