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Conservative Review

Victims silenced: 74% of PA voters approve victims’ rights initiative. Judges block BEFORE the vote

Every discussion about criminal justice from both parties in this era is 100 percent focused on the criminals, not justice for victims of crime. With the Kochs controlling the “conservative” movement, the only way the silent super-majority of voters who want criminals deterred and punished can find a voice is through popular ballot initiatives. Now, the ACLU and the pro-criminal movement are pressing their favorite emergency button to close off all recourse for victims of crime – getting the courts to override the will of the people.

They are quietly dismantling criminal justice in America, even in deep red states, without much fanfare. At the federal level, what proponents billed as the biggest change to criminal justice in three decades was passed without any debate in the House, while members were gearing up for a government shutdown, like bank robbers in middle of the night. Yet, when this issue is unambiguously placed before the people for a protracted public debate, they always side with victims of crime. The perfect example is Marsy’s law.

Marsy’s law, a bill of rights for victims of crime, has passed overwhelmingly in 13 states, including in California. It simply codifies basic criminal justice laws and principles that, for the most part, have been on the books forever. Various versions of Marsy’s law include such principles as:

  • The victim has the right to be notified of all the relevant criminal proceedings or about the release of the accused on bail and to have his or her safety taken into account by the judge for decisions concerning release and parole.
  • The victim has the right to be heard and to provide a victim impact statement at various stages of disposition during the trial, sentencing, and parole.
  • The victim has the right to receive restitution from the criminal.
  • At the same time the victim has the right to be heard, he also has the right to remain silent and to refrain from speaking to the police or prosecutors.

Over the past 10 years, no version of Marsy’s law has passed with less than 60 percent support except for the one in California. In many states, it passed with 75-80 percent support. The most recent example is Pennsylvania.

You might not have heard this from the pro-criminal media, but on Tuesday, 74 percent of Pennsylvania voters agreed to enact a version of Marsy’s law, most of which is already codified in state statute, into Pennsylvania’s Constitution. Earlier this year, the sate Senate voted unanimously and the House voted 190-8 to place this initiative on the ballot.

But the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court last week pre-emptively “enjoined” the certification of the election results before the election took place! It’s not just that the ACLU sought to enjoin enforcement of the ballot initiative after it was slated to pass, it successfully got the court to order the secretary of state not to even certify the results of the election! That is how badly the pro-criminal lobby wants to stifle debate before it even begins. The opinion was written by Ellen Ceisler, a Democrat. The state’s supreme court upheld the preliminary injunction on Monday by a 4-3 vote, with all of the yes votes coming from Democrats. The two GOP judges and one Democrat judge dissented.

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