LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Marsy’s Law will be on the ballot in the upcoming November 6 election, but the phrasing of the question has been ruled by a judge as “too vague”.
The Franklin Circuit judge ruled that the ballot question isn’t worded in a way that would inform people of what they’re voting on. The decision doesn’t prevent it from going on the ballot and Kentucky election officials can count the votes, but they can’t certify the results until after appellate courts have also ruled.
The question reads: “Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process?”
The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a suit claiming that’s not enough, and Judge Thomas Wingate agreed.
“We are disappointed in that ruling, we disagree with that ruling, we already filed our notice of appeal this afternoon to try and get that issue quickly to the Kentucky Court of Appeals,” said Marcy’s Law for Kentucky attorney, Sheryl Snyder.
The Judge sites the ten new enumerated rights this bill would grant crime victims and says the wording of the question only demonstrates common courtesies not constitutional changes.
“One of the ironies in the judge’s opinion is that he said if you put the entire text of the amendment, which is two pages long, on the ballot it would still would pass,” Snyder said. “We hope that irony is seen by the Court of Appeals and while the ballot question is succinct, it does fairly describe the substance of the amendment.”
The group Marsy’s Law for Kentucky is taking this ruling to the Court of Appeals, asking for expedited relief which would require Judge Wingate to suspend his ruling. If he doesn’t the group is still confident they’ll have plenty of time to go before the court.
Action on the appeal should happen within the coming weeks, it was submitted Monday afternoon. This ruling has nothing to do with the actual amendment, only the way it is worded on the ballot.
Kentucky is one of the six states set to vote on Marsy’s Law. A circuit court in Florida made a similar decision regarding the ballot question, saying it also fails to inform voters. That issue is now pending in front of the Florida supreme court.