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Counselor Says Marsy's Law Violates Victims' Confidentiality; Glodt Says It Increases Privacy

Courtesy of Jason Glodt

A retired Rapid City counselor says crime victims will lose privacy if voters approve Amendment S. That's the ballot issue also known as "Marsy's Law," which adds crime victims' rights to the state constitution. At issue is the definition of "victim," which the amendment expands to include certain family members of the direct victim.

The primary supporter says the family members aren't included unless they have suffered harm.  SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Private Attorney Says Marsy's Law Diverts Resources

A Rapid City attorney and former public defender calls a proposed victims' rights amendment a "California solution in search of a South Dakota problem."

Jay Davis refers to the ballot issue Amendment S. It is funded by the California businessman Henry Nicholas III, whose sister, Marsy, was murdered in 1983.

Davis says South Dakota has limited financial resources, but the criminal justice system has done well to provide assistance to victims by working efficiently.

Currently, statutory rights are offered to victims of violent felonies and certain misdemeanors, including DUI. If the amendment passes, all victims of all crimes will have those same rights.

Rapid City attorney Jay Davis comments on Amendment S.

"One of the problems with Marsy's Law is it requires the same solicitude for a convenience store that's had a twelve-pack of beer stolen as it does for someone who's been brutalized in a very violent way," Davis says. "And that's going to divert resources away from the crime victims who need help the most."

Amendment S opponents say this expansion will tax South Dakota's resources.

Jason Glodt disagrees. He says California has a similar amendment to its Constitution, and that state has not seen a need for increased funding to cover the workload. And he says he doesn't expect that victims of minor crimes will want to exercise rights as much as victims of more serious crimes.

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She Retired from this position in March 2023.
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