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Letter: Victims Deserve Constitutional Protections; Vote Yes on Amendment 1

As the sister of a murder victim and an advocate working daily with victims’ families across the Commonwealth, I was deeply disappointed to read state Senator John Schickel’s recent op-ed criticizing Constitutional Amendment 1 — Marsy’s Law for Kentucky.

I personally know the pain, anxiety, and confusion that crime victims and their loved ones too often experience as they seek to navigate the justice system. And it is discouraging to see one of our elected officials disparage such an important effort to ensure victims of crime are afforded the equal rights they deserve.

It is also disingenuous for Sen. Schickel to claim that our fight for victim rights is led by “special interests from outside our state.” I am certainly not an “outsider,” and Hope After Homicide is not a “special interest group” — and neither are countless other Kentucky victims and advocates who tirelessly strive to stand up for those without a voice.

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky enjoys broad, bipartisan support and will have no impact upon any presumption of innocence or the rights of the accused. It will simply correct the current imbalance of justice that exists by ensuring the inclusion, participation, and respect of victims in the criminal justice system.

Victims deserve constitutional protections for basic, commonsense rights — like receiving timely notification when an offender is released and being present and heard during court proceedings.

On behalf of my family and tens of thousands of others across the Commonwealth, I ask you to please vote YES on Amendment 1 on your ballot this fall and take a stand to give crime victims a much-needed voice.

—Melissa Buchanan, Florence

Founder – Hope After Homicide

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