Rep. Stephens Endorses Constitutional Rights for Crime Victims

ATLANTA – State Representative Mickey Stephens (D-Savannah) today announced his support for Marsy’s Law for Georgia, a bill that would grant constitutional rights to crime victims.

“Those accused and convicted of crimes in our state have constitutional rights, and the people they harm should have equal constitutional rights,” said Rep. Stephens. “I will work with my colleagues in the House to pass Marsy’s Law for Georgia during the Georgia General Assembly’s upcoming session so that we can put this constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters to consider in the 2018 election.”

Marsy’s Law would outline enforceable, fundamental rights for crime victims within Georgia’s constitution. The legislation would ensure that crime victims receive timely notifications of court proceedings, adequate information on legal developments and proper treatment at all times. Georgia is one of 15 states in the country that lacks explicit victim guarantees in its state constitution. Although Georgia does outline victims’ rights in state law, these rights are often unenforceable. Marsy’s Law strengthens the protections already in place.

“Many victims live with trauma and fear,” said Rep. Stephens. “We must act to ensure that victims and their constitutional rights are protected. This includes notifying victims about major case developments and changes in the offender’s custody status, as well as giving victims the ability to be heard in court and hearings and allowing them to provide input on plea deals. Putting these rights in the state constitution will empower victims throughout a process where they often feel powerless.”

The Georgia State Senate passed Marsy’s Law, Senate Resolution 146, during the 2017 legislative session by a vote of 50-4, and the measure garnered support from southeast Georgia senators, including Sens. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) and Ben Watson (R-Savannah). Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) had an excused absence on the vote but has endorsed the legislation. Marsy’s Law will be considered by the Georgia House of Representatives during the 2018 legislative session. If the bill is approved in the House by the required two-thirds majority, the issue will be decided on the 2018 ballot by Georgia voters.

Representative Mickey Stephens represents the citizens of District 165, which includes portions of Chatham County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2008, and currently serves on the Health & Human Services, Insurance, Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment, Regulated Industries, and Ways & Means committees.

Posted November 14th, 2017 in Mickey Stephens. Tagged: , .