Marsy’s Law and Victim’s Rights in California

In 2008, California voters approved the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law. The proposition amended California’s Constitution to provide additional victims’ rights within California. Marsy’s Law provides crime victims with certain rights and extra due process protections. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee Nicholas, whose ex-boyfriend murdered her in 1983. Marsalee was a college student at the time of her murder. After unexpectedly encountering her murderer in public, Marsalee’s family began advocating for additional rights and protection of victims and their families.

The Right of Victims to Restitution Under Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law provides that all victims who suffer loss caused by criminal activity must have the right to restitution from those convicted of crimes. Judges have the authority to order convicted wrongdoers in every case to provide restitution to a victim who suffers a loss, regardless of the disposition of the case. Thus, California judges can order convicted defendants to make monetary payments or sell the property to make payments to the victim for the purpose of restitution.

The Procedural Rights of Victims Granted By Marsy’s Law

Crime victims and their families can feel lost in the criminal procedure process. Marsy’s law grants victims and their families the following procedural rights to ensure they are treated fairly during the criminal process:

  • The right to the prompt return of their property when it is no longer needed as evidence
  • The right to receive notice of the defendant’s arrest
  • The right to receive notice of any criminal charges that are filed
  • The reasonable notice of public proceedings regarding the defendant
  • The right to receive, upon request, a pre-sentencing report when available
  • The right to be informed of the conviction, sentence, and scheduled release from jail of the perpetrator
  • The right to be informed of all parole procedures
  • The right to participate in the parole process
  • The right to be notified, upon request, that the perpetrator will be released on parole

The Right to Protection From the Defendant

Marsy’s parents became involved in the rights of crime victims after they ran into their daughter’s murderer while out in public. Marsy’s Law provides crime victims protection from contact with the perpetrator of the crime. Per Marsy’s law, the State of California has a duty to reasonably protect victims from the defendant and people acting on behalf of the defendant. Additionally, judges must consider the safety of the victim and his or her family when determining the bail amount and the defendant’s conditions for release.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys can Help

At Kopelman Law Offices, our attorneys are well-trained victims’ rights lawyers. California has made great strides by strengthening victims’ rights and passing Marsy’s Law. If you are a victim of a crime in Irvine, California and Orange County our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the protection and restitution to which you are entitled. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights.

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