The “Marsy’s Law for Idaho” proposal will create a brand new constitutional right to “reasonable protection” against “the accused” (not just those who are convicted) for “crime victims” including those who are allegedly being threatened with “emotional harm.” The proposal also strikes the language allowing the legislature to define these rights.
Article 1, Section 11 of the Idaho state constitution says, “Nor shall any LAW permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.” [Emphasis added.]
No “law”… A court ruling about the definition of a constitutional right is not a “law,” so this is not sufficient protection against activist judges deciding that “reasonable protection” includes confiscating the firearms of “the accused.”
Moreover, the problems with this proposal go beyond the threat to our gun rights. Fundamentally, there can be no “crime” or “crime victim” prior to the conviction of “the accused” without trampling the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” underfoot. At most, there can be an alleged victim of an alleged crime committed by an alleged offender before a conviction is rendered.
Was Christine Blasey Ford a “crime victim” when she made unproven accusations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh? Was Jussie Smollett a “crime victim” when he made false accusations of assault against some unidentified alleged Trump supporters? Was Crystal Gail Mangum a “crime victim” when she falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of rape?
Under “Marsy’s Law,” each of these individuals would likely have been considered a “crime victim” with a constitutional right to “reasonable protection” against those they falsely accused. The fact is that unscrupulous individuals levy false accusations against innocent people every single day, yet “Marsy’s Law” will declare that these charlatans are “crime victims” based on their allegations alone. Is this how we want to define justice in Idaho?
Even if you disagree (or don’t really care) about the danger to our gun rights inherent in SJR101, there are still many compelling reasons to oppose “Marsy’s Law.” Perhaps one of the most important is making sure that we provide some additional “reasonable protection” to the foundational principle of “innocent until proven guilty” here in Idaho.