Brief filed: 12/13/2019
League of Women Voters v. Boockvar
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania; Case No. 578 MD 2019
The dramatic impact that Marsy’s Law would have on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system is not mere speculation. Other states have adopted nearly identically vague and broad constitutional amendments, which have resulted in substantial harm not only to criminal defendants, but also to the administration of the criminal justice system. This amicus brief summarizes the substantial burdens that Marsy’s Law has imposed in other states where it has gone into effect. The right “to reasonable and timely notice of and to be present at all public proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct” has cost counties and states millions of dollars and congested court dockets. Marsy’s Law states have struggled to deal with the financial impact of the notice provision. The docket congestion caused by the notice provision has caused intolerable delays in proceedings. The right “to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused” has led to absurd results in pretrial release decisions. The right to “full and timely restitution” will take money from the courts. The codification of “respect for the victim’s…privacy” and the right “to reasonable protection from the accused” has made it more difficult for law enforcement to solve crimes and left the public lacking critical information about criminal activity.
Douglas E. Roberts, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Lisa A. Mathewson, Law Offices of Lisa A. Mathewson, LLC, Philadelphia, PA.