Oklahoma "victim’s rights" amendment draws criticism

Apr 5, 2017

Credit James Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

The Oklahoma House has voted unanimously to enshrine what’s being called a “crime victim’s bill of rights” into the state constitution.

Soon voters will head to the polls to ratify the bill.

The proposed measure, also known as “Marsy’s Law,” ensures that crime victims receive the same treatment as suspects and perpetrators. Seems simple enough.

But, as Oklahoma Watch reports, other states where similar laws have been instituted have faced unintended consequences. These negative results include trial delays and longer case backlogs, resulting in increased costs to taxpayers.

Altogether, five states have passed victims’ rights laws.

Al Hoch, president of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said he’s troubled by the law’s implications. “One of the other rights in Marsy’s Law is to get a speedy trial for the victim,” he said. “But they are just going to be doing just the opposite.”