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South Dakota Lawyers Universally Reject Marsy’s Law Measure

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One of the issues South Dakota will decide this November would expand crime victim’s rights. Those against the effort feel South Dakota already has adequate protection.

Amendment S is commonly known as Marsy’s law has been enacted in other parts of the country with the goal of giving victims of crime timely notice about the accused throughout the trial process. Ryan Kolbeck who represents the State Bar Association says South Dakota has a system already in place.

“Each (Judicial) Circuit has victim’s assistance or advocates whose role is to stay in touch with the victim throughout the pendency of the case. During the case, they are the ones who notify individuals who want to be notified. After (the trial) it goes into the penitentiary and parole system and they have other notification procedures.”

Furthermore Kolbeck believes the State Legislature should be in charge of making changes if the public deems it necessary.

“If there are changes needed, we should go to Pierre. The victim’s rights groups should be knocking down the door saying that we need more rights. (Currently) no one is going to the County Commissions or Pierre saying that what we have is inadequate. Under the Victim’s Rights Act of 1991 or the Federal Companion Statute, these notifications to the people that really need it are already being done.”

Should the Amendment pass, Kolbeck and other members of the State Bar estimate that costs to adjudicate cases would increase by 30 percent in order to comply with the rule.

Voters in Montana and North Dakota will also vote on similar measures to expand victim’s rights in the coming election.

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