Marsy's Law for New Hampshire represents two decades of advocates' work to establish enforceable rights for victims of crime. Since the 1990s, the NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence and the NH Department of Justice have been working toward a constitutional amendment that ensures that victims of crime in our state are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect. Marsy's Law for NH is a broad coalition made up of victims and their families, victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, legal experts, and community business leaders across the state. The coalition is working with the Governor, the Attorney General, and elected officials on both sides of the aisle to pass CACR 22, a constitutional amendment that will establish enforceable rights for victims of crime in NH.
Currently in the United States, the U.S. Constitution and every state constitution has enumerated rights for individuals accused of a crime and those convicted of a crime. Yet, the U.S. Constitution and 15 state constitutions, including New Hampshire, do not extend enumerated rights to victims of crime.
Marsy’s Law for NH is seeking to elevate key rights of crime victims into the state’s Constitution to ensure that victims have rights that are equal, in stature, to the constitutional rights of the accused and convicted. Marsy’s Law for NH, or CACR 22, provides crime victims and their families with the following constitutional rights:
- to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity, and privacy;
- upon request, to reasonable and timely notice of and to be present at all proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct;
- to be heard in any proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated;
- to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused;
- to refuse an unnecessary interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused;
- to full and timely restitution;
- to proceedings free from unreasonable delay and a prompt conclusion to a case.