NewsCovering Kentucky


Marsy's Law sponsor reacts to pushback following Election Day win

Posted at 1:06 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 20:08:05-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — When Kentuckians went to the polls this year, they had the chance to vote for two constitutional amendments. One of them passed -- Marsy's Law -- which will create constitutional rights for crime victims.

"It's a win for the people of Kentucky, whether they've already been a crime victim or whether they may one day be a future crime victim," said Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield, one of the sponsors of Marsy's Law.

Westerfield says its passing will give constitutional protections to crime victims that aren't already available. He calls the win a "victory" and "relief."

"For the tens of thousands of crime victims who today have no rights under Kentucky law whatsoever," said Westerfield.

However, he's also "cautiously confident" about the win. Voters passed Marsy's Law in 2018, but the Kentucky Supreme Court later struck it down because a summary was printed on the ballot instead of the amendment's entire text. This time around, the entire text was available for voters to read. While that issue was addressed, Westerfield says a criminal defense group is rechallenging the law.

"They made a number of procedural arguments and substantive issue arguments, none of which I think have merit," he said. "And they certainly can't raise the issue of the ballot question again."

Critics have said victims already have rights outlined in state law.

Westerfield is hopeful, though, and says he stands by the fact that twice, voters have supported Marsy's Law.