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New Legislation Could Help Nevada Victims of Domestic Violence

Could new legislation in Nevada called Marsy’s Law change the lives of domestic violence victim for the better? If you’ve been the victim of domestic violence, or know someone who has, this is what one of the state’s legislative committees is proposing.

Marsy’s Law is already a reality in California, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Similar laws exist in other states, designed to give the victims of violence or their surviving family members constitutional protections and equal rights alongside their abusers.

If adopted by Nevada, Marsy’s law would help abuse victims and their family members through a number of methods:

  • Victims and their families would automatically be given notice of any major changes in the criminal case, such as changes to the charges and changes to the date of hearings.

  • Victims would be notified promptly if there was a change in the custody status of the accused or convicted abuser. For example, they would be notified if the alleged abuser was released from jail on bond. Similarly, they’d be notified if a convicted abuser made parole.

  • The new law would also give victims a voice with prosecutors. Victims and their family members would be able to give input to the prosecutor before a plea deal was made.

  • Victims and their families would also be notified in time to be present at court hearings and to speak before any proceeding that might result in the offender’s release.

  • Similar to the criminal suspect’s Miranda rights, victims would be given a “Marsy’s Card” that outlined their rights and available services.

  • Victims would also have the right to seek restitution for their injuries.

Nothing in the law seeks to deprive the abuser of any rights or interfere with normal judicial methods—it’s only designed to give victims an equal footing and more of a voice during the process. It doesn’t give victims control over the outcome of a proceeding, just the same right to speak that the defendant has.

Marsy’s law wouldn’t even appear on the ballot until 2018. Until then, domestic violence victims need to rely on traditional means of protection. Protective orders, for example, can help a victim keep their abuser at a distance. You should also utilize your attorney as much as possible to get help navigating the judicial arena as you seek both assistance and legal protection.

Source: KTNV, “Victims’ rights bill set to go before Nevada committee,” Feb. 13, 2017

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