Legal experts and victims’ advocates are trying to determine what’s next after Marsy’s Law passed in Kentucky.
Marsy’s Law advocates say the goal is to ensure more rights for crime victims. Grace Stewart with Lotus in Paducah said victims need a legal advocate.
“Victims have not been through the criminal justice system before, and so having someone there that they can ask questions to, that are really familiar with the processes and what their rights are is really important, in helping them feel like they have achieved justice, that they have been heard.” Stewart said.
Criminal defense lawyer Jeff Alford said Kentucky already provides victims some of the rights laid out in Marsy’s Law. Alford said the problem is the amendment doesn’t give clarity on how to legally apply it.
“Judges, a lot of prosecutors, even defense attorneys are going to be scrambling around trying to figure out how this is going to be applied, how this is going to affect our abilities to get cases,” Alford said.
Ballard County Attorney Vicki Hayden is also concerned the amendment doesn’t provide funding for the mandated victim advocate. She said Ballard County does not have one, and with budget restrictions won’t be able to hire one.
“You read through that law and it sounds very good,” Hayden said. “And I wish that I could afford 100% of the needs that are set out in that law, but I can’t. Not without help.”
Hayden is hoping for more guidance and funding to implement it. She said it’s possible for the amendment to be appealed in a few months.
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