crime victims

US Attorney gives Victim Assistance Awards

Apr 15, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

To mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, North Dakota US Attorney Christopher Myers handed out a number of Victim assistance awards at a ceremony in Bismarck.

The theme of the ceremony was “Expand the Circle – Reach All Victims.”

"Far too often, the stuff that happens behind the scenes -- working with victims, helping them -- rarely gets recognized," Myers said. "It's probably one of the most important things we do on a daily basis."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state’s Office of Management and Budget said an initiated Constitutional measure on the November ballot would cost North Dakota taxpayers nearly $4 million in the 2017-2019 biennium.

The measure – dubbed “Marsy’s Law” – would put rights of crime victims in the Constitution.

That estimate was given to the Legislative Management Committee – and it will be posted to the Secretary of State’s Website. OMB also said if it passes, it would cost $1.1 million to implement in the remainder of the current two year budget period.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

County prosecutors and representatives of victims’ advocates say they’re against a proposed state Constitutional measure on victims’ rights.

The measure is dubbed “Marsy’s Law” – and it will be on the ballot in November.

Marsy’s Law is based on California law – and is being pushed by California millionaire Henry Nicholas, who has contributed more than $1 million to the effort.

The groups say the measure has good intentions – but could lead to unintended consequences – such as more court cases and delays in decisions.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A group has submitted signatures to get a victim’s rights Constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Supporters of Marsy’s Law needed 26,904 valid signatures. The group delivered more than 44,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office.

The supporters say crime victims should have the same Constitutional rights as those accused of a crime.

Supporters say those rights include a victim’s right to be heard in court, to be notified of court proceedings and to be free from harassment. That would also include a victim’s right not to be deposed.

States' attorneys still question 'Marsy's Law"

Jan 27, 2016

States’ attorneys in North Dakota are being surveyed on the proposed Constitutional amendment for victims’ rights.

That initiative is dubbed “Marsy’s Law.” And the group pushing it is now circulating petitions to get it on the November ballot.

Aaron Birst of the North Dakota Association of Counties says recently, the supporters met with a group of prosecutors to discuss the law. Birst says the prosecutors who attended that meeting don’t like it.

North Dakota criminal defense attorneys are raising concerns about a proposed initiated Constitutional measure dealing with crime victims' rights.

A group – led by Kathleen Wrigley of Bismarck – wants to put the measure – dubbed “Marsy’s Law” – up for a vote in next November’s election. Secretary of State Al Jaeger is now reviewing the measure’s language.

"A solution in search of a problem." That's how Fargo attorney Mark Friese characterizes the measure. He says since the 1980s, North Dakota has had laws on the books to make sure victim rights are protected.

A victim rights group wants to put a Constitutional measure on the November ballot next year.

The measure is dubbed "Marsy's Law" -- named for a California college student who was killed by an ex-boyfriend. The accused made bail, and later confronted the woman's mother and brother.

"Today begins a new conversation for victims of crime," said Kathleen Wrigley, the chair of the group. She says the measure will not reduce the rights of criminal defendants.