COLUMBUS – Monday - State Rep. Andrea White (R-Kettering) today introduced House Bill 343, legislation which statutorily implements the enhanced rights of crime victims contained in the “Marsy’s Law” Crime Victims Amendment to the Ohio Constitution – which Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved in November 2017.
“With this bill, the constitutional protections for crime victims will be fully enabled with workable statutory provisions to achieve justice for victims,” said Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima). “I am pleased that Rep. Andrea White has agreed to sponsor this important bill and finish the work done during the last General Assembly.”
“I thank Speaker Cupp for his efforts in spearheading this legislation in the last General Assembly, and I look forward to working with the dozens of stakeholders already working collaboratively – including victims and victim’s rights/advocacy organizations, law enforcement professionals, judges and court staff, defense attorneys, prosecutors and other justice partners – to get this bill right and get it across the finish line,” said White.
The bill’s goals include:
- Requiring a “Marsy’s Card” to be provided to victims of a crime at the earliest contact with law enforcement to inform them of their rights and provide resources
- Providing increased protections against public disclosure of victim’s personal information
- Enhancing the right of victims to be heard in court proceedings
- Protecting victims during the discovery process
- Modifying existing law to address who can exercise the rights of a victim in situations where a victim does not
- Addressing a victim’s right to interpreters
- Allowing a victim to obtain a copy of all documents filed with the court in their case – at no cost to the victim
- Requiring victims be notified of case proceedings upon request and allowed to be present at all “on the record” proceedings
- Expanding victim rights to be heard in court proceedings
- Requiring prompt notification to crime victims in certain cases when the accused is released from or escapes incarceration
- Providing a framework for seeking appellate redress when necessary to enforce a crime victim’s rights
White noted that the bill does not change or diminish any rights of the accused, make a crime victim an actual party to a case, or cause unnecessary delays in the criminal process.
“The Ohio Constitution states that the rights of crime victims shall be protected in a manner no less vigorous than the rights of the accused, and House Bill 343 aims to do just that,” added White.
House Bill 343 now awaits referral to a House committee.