Kentucky's 'Marsy's Law' court decision to be decided before election

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky voters are set to decide on adding “Marsy’s Law” to the state constitution - pending the outcome of a lawsuit.

The proposed amendment, named after a California college student who was murdered in the 1980s, is essentially aimed at balancing the rights of victims and the accused in the judicial system.

To survivors of crime like Michelle Kuiper, Marsy’s Law is more than just a cause. She says it’s something that could’ve helped her.

"When I look at the scales of Lady Justice, they are very tilted…,” said Kuiper.

That’s why she’s frustrated by a lawsuit that threatens to derail an effort to even them out.

Another group is opposing the new amendment, and claims that the question being posed on the ballot is too vague. The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says that voters can’t understand what the amendment would do.

“We have a two-page amendment to the constitution that we believe dramatically changes our separation of powers and the question is a line and a half,” said Attorney Kenyon Meyer of the KACDL.

State Senator Whitney Westerfield sponsored the Marsy’s Law legislation three separate times before the Kentucky General Assembly finally approved it in January 2018. He says the KACDL is “reaching” in their attempt to kill the legislation.

"I think they see boogeymen where none really exist,” Westerfield said. “They're trying to argue that the rights we're affording victims in this amendment would reduce or impede the rights of the accused, and I haven't heard a single argument yet how that's possible."

Kentucky is just one of six states where Marsy’s Law is on the ballot this fall. The judge presiding over the case says he will decide whether or not to allow the proposed legislature continue in the next 10 days.

But no matter what the judge decides, attorneys from the losing side are likely to appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court to make a final decision before Election Day, on Nov. 6.

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