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Senate committee endorses proposed victims' rights amendment called Marsy's Law

Staff Report
March 20. 2018 11:07PM

CONCORD — A proposed victims’ rights amendment to the state constitution, known as Marsy’s Law, won the endorsement of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 4-1 vote on Tuesday, with the bill expected to go to the full Senate later this week.

The measure, Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 22, has widespread support in the Senate and the endorsement of Gov. Chris Sununu.

“I want to commend the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for standing with victims of crime and passing CACR22 out of committee with a strong bi-partisan vote,” he said.

“When victims of crime find the strength to come forward and engage in the criminal justice process, we must ensure that they have basic constitutional rights and protections in place. Victims of crime deserve equal rights — the same rights as defendants and those convicted. No more, no less.”

Some changes were made in the bill from its earlier version to address some of the concerns raised by critics.

The version endorsed on Tuesday removes a directive that the courts enforce victims’ rights “in a manner no less vigorous than the rights of the accused.”

The new version also requires victims to request specific rights, narrows the times at which a victim may request to be heard in court, and removes the right of a victim to refuse pre-trial discovery requests from the defendant.

The bill will need a three-fifths majority vote in the House of Representatives and the State Senate, to be included on the ballot this fall. If it gets on the November ballot, voters will have to endorse the proposition by a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution.

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