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Beyond saving: Changes won't correct Marsy's Law

March 18. 2018 11:00PM

Proponents of Marsy’s Law, a proposed constitutional amendment to protect victims’ rights, did not bother to examine its language before attempting to insert it into New Hampshire’s Constitution.

The amendment has been imported from California. Now, faced with the problems that surfaced in other states that adopted Marsy’s Law, advocates are supporting an amendment to the amendment that they say will make it work for New Hampshire.

Sens. Bette Lasky and Bill Gannon make the case for the updated amendment on today’s Opinion page. Sen. Bob Giuda remains concerned that the language could make things worse for victims.

We do not believe any changes to the amendment’s language would make it appropriate for New Hampshire. We should not be debating which detailed judicial procedures to write into the state Constitution. The Legislature should ensure protections for victims in state statute, where any errors and unintended consequences can be easily addressed.

Surely, some crime victims have felt ignored and disrespected by the New Hampshire criminal justice system. We have yet to be convinced that any change in the law would change the nature of impersonal government bureaucracies.

We need to respect the needs of victims. Marsy’s Law is not the way to do it, no matter the wording.

Crime, law and justice State Government Editorial

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