MTPR

Montana Supreme Court Temporarily Halts 'Marsy's Law'

Jun 30, 2017

The Montana Supreme Court has ordered a temporary stop to Marsy’s Law, the constitutional amendment approved by voters last fall.

The court halted Marsy’s Law, which increases the rights of crime victims, until another legal case challenging the constitutionality of new law is resolved. The constitutional amendment was scheduled to go into effect July 1.

Chuck Denowh is the state director for Marsy’s Law.

“Crime victims of Montana have been anticipating these rights going into effect on July 1, and criminal justice professionals across the state have been preparing, so I think this delay by the court is going to create mass confusion.”

Marsy’s law received 66 percent of the vote last November, approving additional privacy rights to crime victims and their families and allowing additional participation and notification in criminal proceedings. 

Eric Sell with the Department of Justice says he doesn’t expect the delay in Marsy’s law to create confusion among either crime victims or country officials.

"It makes little sense to have cities and counties move forward with expending resources to implement Marsy’s Law with litigation pending."

The ACLU, the Montana Association of Counties and Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are suing to stop Marsy’s Law from ever going into effect.

The ACLU calls it a "ill-conceived law" that will overburdened the criminal justice system with unintended consequences.