Marsy's Law: What is it and why Georgians will see it on the ballot in November

Marsalee Nicholas was murdered in 1983 (Photo: Ian Dembling)

November may seem like a ways away, but it will sneak up on you before you know it. This year there's a lot to vote for on election day. One Georgia constitutional amendment got unanimous approval in the state's House of Representatives.

Marsy's Law is named after a former college student form California who was stalked and then gunned down by her ex-boyfriend. The family thought he was behind bars, but a week later, they found him in a grocery store. This law would make sure any family member of a victim would receive timely information about court proceedings and developments in the cases.

"We're just wanting to make sure victims have the same due diligence as offenders do," said Linda Wilder Bryan, a Savannah activist who supports the law.

Bryan says she never wanted to labeled in the victim category, but that all changed three years ago when her son was killed. She says thanks to a good support system she stayed active with the police investigation. Others aren't as lucky, but with Marsy's Law, families would need to be notified about any court proceedings, scheduling changes or arrests.

"We want to be notified, we want to hear about pre-trial and hearings and bonds. We want to be there. We want to be there and we don't always get that notification until afterwards or right up until that time," Bryan said.

Tamiko Pugh says she's worked for the last three years to get this amendment passed through the Georgia House of Representatives. She says Georgia is very behind.

"California passed a constitutional amendment for crime victims in the eighties," she said. "Right now, we are one out of 14 states that does not protect crime victims,"

All other southeastern states have passed Marsy's Law. South Carolina passed their amendment in 1996.

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