Wisconsin Constitutional Referendum: “Marsy’s Law” ~ You Decide

Posted on 4-02-2020

For those of you who have not submitted your absentee ballot or who plan to vote in person, you will be asked to vote yes or no on a statewide referendum to amend our state constitution.

You may have seen advertisements for “Marsy’s Law”, which relate to the proposed amendment.

We want you to have the facts, so you can decide for yourself.

The referendum reads:

QUESTION 1: “Additional rights of crime victims.  Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution, which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”

The current proposed constitutional amendment would amend article I, section 9m, to entitle crime victims to the following rights in Wisconsin:

  • To be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, sensitivity, and fairness.
  • To privacy.
  • To proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  • To timely disposition of the case, free from unreasonable delay.
  • Upon request, to attend all proceedings involving the case.
  • To reasonable protection from the accused throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process.
  • Upon request, to reasonable and timely notification of proceedings.
  • Upon request, to confer with the attorney for the government.
  • Upon request, to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated, including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon.
  • To have information pertaining to the economic, physical, and psychological effect upon the victim of the offense submitted to the authority with jurisdiction over the case and to have that information considered by that authority.
  • Upon request, to timely notice of any release or escape of the accused or death of the accused if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death.
  • To refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused.
  • To full restitution from any person who has been ordered to pay restitution to the victim and to be provided with assistance collecting restitution.
  • To compensation as provided by law.
  • Upon request, to reasonable and timely information about the status of the investigation and the outcome of the case.
  • To timely notice about all rights granted under this constitutional amendment and all other rights, privileges, or protections of the victim provided by law, including how such rights, privileges, or protections are enforced.

It would also amend Section 9m (1) of article I of the constitution is created
to read:

[Article I] Section 9m (1) (a) In this section, notwithstanding any
statutory right, privilege, or protection, “victim” means any of the

1. A person against whom an act is committed that would constitute
a crime if committed by a competent adult.

2. If the person under subd. 1. is deceased or is physically or
emotionally unable to exercise his or her rights under this section, the
person’s spouse, parent or legal guardian, sibling, child, person who
resided with the deceased at the time of death, or other lawful

3. If the person under subd. 1. is a minor, the person’s parent, legal
guardian or custodian, or other lawful representative.

4. If the person under subd. 1. is adjudicated incompetent, the
person’s legal guardian or other lawful representative.

(b) “Victim” does not include the accused or a person who the court 
finds would not act in the best interests of a victim who is deceased, 
incompetent, a minor, or physically or emotionally unable to exercise his 
or her rights under this section.

For more information on this statewide referendum, go to  https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/related/proposals/sjr2