The question before South Dakotans is should the rights of crime victims be expanded and placed in the South Dakota Constitution? A yes or no vote on Amendment S will provide the answer.

Commonly known as Marsy’s Law, this proposal has been working its way across the nation after originating in California. Supporter Jason Glodt, a former South Dakota Assistant Attorney General, says there are a laundry list of serious crimes that do not legally recognize victims in the criminal justice system.

“For example (crimes like) vehicular homicide, second and third degree burglary, arson, simple assault, misdemeanor sexual assault, intimidation, harassment, reckless driving, grand theft, fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, forms of human trafficking and hate crimes you’re not a victim under South Dakota’s current law.”

Opponent Ryan Kolbeck as a member of the South Dakota Bar Association fears that Amendment S may be too broad and puts the Legislature in a box.

“This Amendment is 19 sections. It’s three pages long. If this was going to be in our Constitution, it should be more like Texas which delegates (the responsibility to define victim’s rights) back to the Legislature. The Texas Legislature may enact laws to define the term victim. Their Constitutional Amendment is about six sections long and fits on half a page.”

Attorney General Marty Jackley has defined victim as the person who suffers direct or threatened harm plus the victim’s spouse, children, extended family members, guardians and others with a similar relationship to the victim.

The rights offered by Amendment S would apply during all phases of the criminal justice process.

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