Montana Supreme Court delays voter-approved victim right law - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Montana Supreme Court delays voter-approved victim right law

Posted: Updated:
MONTANA -

The Montana Supreme Court issued a stay Friday on a voter-approved victim's rights law from going into effect.
    
The state's high court said there was good cause to delay the law, dubbed Marsy's Law, from being implemented as scheduled on Saturday. The law sought to give crime victims and their families the right to participate in judicial proceedings and be notified of key developments in a case. It would also expand their privacy rights.
    
Voters approved the law as a constitutional amendment last fall, allowing Montana to become one of a handful of states to adopt the law.
    
The Montana Association of Counties, the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics filed suit earlier this month to block the law from going into effect, arguing that the initiative was wrongly presented to voters as a single measure. In light of the many changes it would make to the state constitution, they argued, that voters should have considered multiple measures.
    
In its order Friday, the state court appeared focused on deciding the matter quickly. It ordered interested parties to file written legal arguments over the next six weeks.
    
The Attorney General's Office, which is defending the law on behalf of voters, said it supported the delay.
    
"As the Montana Supreme Court will decide this case in an expedited manner, it's in the state's best interest to put Marsy's Law on pause until the outcome of the litigation is final. It makes little sense to require cities and counties across the state to expend resources on Marsy's law implementation until the case against it is resolved," said the agency's spokesman, Eric Sell.
    
Advocates for the law said they would vigorously fight to uphold the will of voters, of which 65 percent voted in favor Marsy's Law in November.
    
"Victims and criminal justice professionals have been anticipating and preparing for Marsy's Law to go into effect tomorrow," said Chuck Denowh, a spokesman for the Marsy's Law campaign in Montana. "This delay will create much confusion and ultimately deprive victims of the rights that an overwhelming majority chose to provide."
    
The law is named after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her brother, Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Nicholas, campaigned to pass Marsy's Law first in California in 2008, then in the four other states and is now pushing to enact it in nine more.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

    NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

    Friday, August 18 2017 1:06 PM EDT2017-08-18 17:06:25 GMT

    A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media.

    A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media.

  • New evacuations ordered near Lolo Peak fire for 300-400 homes

    New evacuations ordered near Lolo Peak fire for 300-400 homes

    Thursday, August 17 2017 10:23 AM EDT2017-08-17 14:23:25 GMT
    As many as 300 to 400 residents in Lolo were told to leave their homes immediately on Wednesday night due to increased fire activity on the Lolo Peak fire.  The Missoula County Sheriff's Office issued evacuation orders for people and homes from mile marker 31.5 to 29.5 on both sides of Hwy 12. This includes Fort Fizzle to Balsam Root Road on both sides of Hwy 12, as well as portions of Mormon Creek Road past and including Vann Drive.  Residents must check in at t...
    As many as 300 to 400 residents in Lolo were told to leave their homes immediately on Wednesday night due to increased fire activity on the Lolo Peak fire.  The Missoula County Sheriff's Office issued evacuation orders for people and homes from mile marker 31.5 to 29.5 on both sides of Hwy 12. This includes Fort Fizzle to Balsam Root Road on both sides of Hwy 12, as well as portions of Mormon Creek Road past and including Vann Drive.  Residents must check in at t...
  • Watch: Bear takes a dip in Lockwood woman's koi pond

    Watch: Bear takes a dip in Lockwood woman's koi pond

    Thursday, August 17 2017 5:59 PM EDT2017-08-17 21:59:42 GMT

    When a bear in Lockwood found life in the wild too stressful, he sought serenity and bliss in a koi pond.

    When a bear in Lockwood found life in the wild too stressful, he sought serenity and bliss in a koi pond.

  • Eclipse safety for your pets

    Eclipse safety for your pets

    Thursday, August 17 2017 7:45 PM EDT2017-08-17 23:45:53 GMT

    We all know that humans need special protection to view the solar eclipse, but what about your pets? 

    We all know that humans need special protection to view the solar eclipse, but what about your pets? 

  • Montana's ties to the Barcelona attack

    Thursday, August 17 2017 7:29 PM EDT2017-08-17 23:29:27 GMT

    At least 13 people are dead and 100 others injured after a van plowed through a crowded Barcelona street today. 

    At least 13 people are dead and 100 others injured after a van plowed through a crowded Barcelona street today. 

  • Cops: Mom burned son, put him on leash, locked him in cage

    Cops: Mom burned son, put him on leash, locked him in cage

    Friday, August 18 2017 12:58 PM EDT2017-08-18 16:58:53 GMT

    A Pennsylvania mother is accused of burning her 3-year-old with chemicals, putting him on a leash and keeping him in a dog cage.

    A Pennsylvania mother is accused of burning her 3-year-old with chemicals, putting him on a leash and keeping him in a dog cage.

  • How to spot fake solar eclipse glasses

    How to spot fake solar eclipse glasses

    Tuesday, August 15 2017 8:35 PM EDT2017-08-16 00:35:25 GMT

    Don't get caught with "shady" glasses during the solar eclipse. We have some tips on what to look for before the moon obscures the sun.

    Don't get caught with "shady" glasses during the solar eclipse. We have some tips on what to look for before the moon obscures the sun.

  • Man uses solar eclipse glasses as a fundraiser for Billings rocket camps

    Man uses solar eclipse glasses as a fundraiser for Billings rocket camps

    Thursday, August 17 2017 11:22 PM EDT2017-08-18 03:22:10 GMT

    CEO of Big Sky Science Education Enhancement, Henry Lafever decided to jump on the solar eclipse glasses early.

    CEO of Big Sky Science Education Enhancement, Henry Lafever decided to jump on the solar eclipse glasses early.