In September 2022, we filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin arguing that Marsy’s law – a constitutional amendment to alter the rights of crime victims and criminal defendants – wasn’t fully, properly, or accurately presented to Wisconsin voters, leading voters to make a decision about a proposal about which they were not fully informed.
The ballot question posed to voters did not adequately explain the constitutional changes that Marsy’s Law would impose. The question was framed in a way to make it seem like the sole effect of the law would be to expand victims’ rights, failing to even mention that it would also eliminate and curtail some rights of the accused. It also neglected to acknowledge the myriad victims’ rights that were already enshrined in the state’s statutes.
By law, a ballot measure is required to be an “intelligent and comprehensive submission” so that the people “may be fully informed on the subject.” And, a ballot question must always “reasonably, intelligently, and fairly comprise or have reference to every essential of the amendment.” By neglecting to provide key context about the impact of Marsy’s Law impact on defendants’ rights, it is clear to us that the ballot question did not satisfy those standards.
In May 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided 6-1 to uphold Marsy's Law.