Oklahoma voters to decide on equal rights for crime victims - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Oklahoma voters to decide on equal rights for crime victims

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There's change to the Oklahoma Constitution being proposed that would give victims of violent crimes equal rights to those who are accused.

If approved by voters in the November 2018 election, State Question 794 would enact Marsy's Law. Supporters say it mandates that victims get timely updates about the status of offenders.

Similar laws are already on the books in six other states.

"When we get people out, we make sure they do appear. And the victims do get to have their day. So that's why we are supporting it," said Raymond Merrill, president of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association.

The law originated in California, after Marsy Nicholas was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Just one week later, the suspect confronted the victim's parents in a grocery store after being released on bail.

Statement by the Oklahoma Bondsman Association

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA (December 4, 2017) – The Oklahoma Bondsman Association (OBA) has announced its support for Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma, also known as State Question 794, that will be on the ballot for voters next year.

“Marsy’s Law is a great step forward in protecting victims’ rights, which is something that is incredibly important to me and my fellow bondsmen,” said Raymond Merrill, president of OBA. “We are proud advocates for laws that promote the safety of those who have been victims of violent crimes and our communities across the state. We are grateful for what Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma has achieved thus far and look forward to being a proponent for this state question moving forward.”

Marsy’s Law would enhance protection for victims’ rights by enforcing courts to consider the safety of victims and their families when setting bail and release conditions. Under this law, victims and family members will also have a legal standing in bail hearings, pleas, sentencing and parole hearings.

“We’re appreciative of the support from the Oklahoma Bondsman Association as our campaign ramps up and into an election year,” said Kim Moyer, State Director of Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma. “An endorsement from OBA solidifies our goal in connecting the network of allies in the movement to elevate the rights for crime victims and proves to us, and hopefully others, that amending the constitution to provide a voice for crime victims is a critical protection that is needed in our state.”

With many criminal justice efforts ongoing in the state, OBA seeks to encourage and support informed approaches, such as Marsy’s Law, that best serve our state and protect its’ citizens, said Merrill. 

The OBA represents nearly 600 bail agents and works to promote the association’s high ethical standards and continuing education for bondsmen across the state while encouraging collaboration between the public, and judicial and legislative branches of the government.  

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