Marsy’s Law became effective in 2019 in Georgia when it was incorporated into Georgia’s Crime Victims Bill of Rights.  It provides specific rights to the victims of crimes.  This article will details the origins of Marsy’s Law and how it is helping crime victims in Georgia.

Marsy’s Story 

Imagine losing someone you love to a crazy ex-boyfriend who, after their break up, stalked and ultimately killed your loved one. The ex-boyfriend is immediately apprehended and arrested.  However, while waiting for trial, he is released on bond.  You are not notified.  Imagine your shock and horror when you are in a store, just a little over a week later and this killer walks in and begins to taunt you.  This is the story of Marsy’s family and how they fought back.

The story began in 1983 when University of California student, Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend.  By all accounts, Marsy was a beautiful and loving young woman, helpful and a joy to be around.  Her life was cut short at 21 by her ex-boyfriend who took advantage of her trusting nature.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Although her killer was arrested and booked on charges of murder immediately, he was released on bond.

A week after his release on bond, Marsy’s mother was confronted in a grocery store by the accused killer. She had no idea that he had been released from jail.  Needless to say, she was horrified.  How could someone who had murdered her daughter this viciously be released on bond, and she not at least be notified? This began their campaign to advocate for the rights of victims, stating that while criminals have a large number of rights, the victims have none.

Marsy’s Law

in essence, the law was created to provide a way for victims to be present at all proceedings concerning the accused, the right to be notified of these proceedings as well as any dispositions concerning the accused.  Several states passed a version of this law in the 1990’s, giving rights to the victims for the first time.

Georgia’s Victims Rights GA Code § 17-17-1 (2017)

The State of Georgia introduced the Georgia Victims Rights in 2017 to provide as follows:

  • (1) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings;
  • (2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the arrest, release, or escape of the accused;
  • (3) The right not to be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided in this chapter or as otherwise required by law;
  • (4) The right to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused;
  • (5) The right to file a written objection in any parole proceedings involving the accused;
  • (6) The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim;
  • (7) The right to restitution as provided by law;
  • (8) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
  • (9) The right to be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case.

In addition, Marsy’s Law (SB127) was passed and added into this code.

  • The right to file a motion in the criminal case within 20 days of a court proceeding requesting to be heard if the victim has properly requested notification and is not given notice of said court proceeding.

The crimes involved range from Reckless Conduct to Sexual Offenses to Homicide.  For a full detail, see Victims Rights.

David Crawford is an Atlanta based attorney who practices law focused on protecting rights of those accused of crime and victims of elder abuse.  If you have recently received a speeding ticket, arrested for a non-violent crime or are the victim of nursing home abuse, contact our office.  David Crawford is and experienced attorney with compassion but he also fights aggressively for his clients and is a powerful litigator in the courtroom. He’s in for the fight and doesn’t stop until he gets his clients justice.

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