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Oklahoma to send crime victims’ ‘bill of rights’ to ballot

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma voters will decide whether to enshrine what’s being called a crime victims’ bill of rights into the state constitution _ despite concerns the proposal could lead to costly unintended consequences.

With little discussion and no debate Tuesday, the House voted 88-0 to send “Marsy’s Law” to the November 2018 ballot.

Marsy’s Law is an initiative started in 1983 after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student, was allegedly stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend.

A week later, Marsy’s mother ran into the accused murderer at the grocery store. She had no idea he’d been released on bail.

Since then, Marsy’s Law has been enacted in five states, and Rep. Scott Biggs is hoping Oklahoma will be the next.

If approved by voters, the measure, among other things, would require victims to be notified and be heard in most criminal proceedings and prohibit “unreasonable delay” of criminal cases.

The head of a national organization of criminal defense attorneys says the law is mostly unnecessary and poses numerous additional requirements for prosecutors.