Crime victims and their families would be guaranteed certain rights in the state Constitution, if voters approve, under a bill that cleared the House on Thursday.
House Bill 551 passed on a vote of 94-21 and next goes to the Senate. It is a North Carolina version of “Marsy’s Law,” and would be put to a popular vote if at least 60 percent of the Senate agrees.
The bill would give crime victims the right to be notified about all court proceedings related to their case and to be present at them. It would provide them the right to prevent disclosure of records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family and allow victims to opt out of providing information to prosecutors or defense attorneys.
Under the proposal, victims also would have the right to receive “full and timely” restitution from defendants.
Marsy’s Law was first enacted in California in 2008. It was backed by Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Nicholas, whose sister Marsy was stalked and murdered by her boyfriend in 1983. A week after her murder, Nicholas and his mother were confronted by his sister’s killer while they were in the grocery store. Unbeknownst to the family, he had been released from jail on bail while awaiting trial.
In the nine years since the California law was passed, other states have followed suit.