“Marsy’s Law” has constitutional flaw

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

October 24, 2017

A bill to enshrine victims’ rights into the Wisconsin Constitution has one item in it that would blatantly violate the U.S. Constitution.

The bill, which is called “Marsy’s Law,” has been passed in committees and now awaits floor debate.

The poisonous item says that a victim has the right “to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused.”

This would be a facial violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…”

It would also run afoul of the “due process” clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.

If a defendant and the defendant’s attorney cannot confront their accuser, then this fundamental right of the accused goes right out the window, and the defendant cannot get a fair trial.

For this reason, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign opposes the bill, which is called Assembly Joint Resolution 47 and Senate Joint Resolution 53.

The bill would have to pass this session and then the next session and then would have to be ratified by the citizens of Wisconsin before becoming law .