I am thrilled to report another important legal development: Judge Karlton of the Northern District has declared Prop 9, otherwise known as Marsy’s Law or the Victim Bill of Rights, unconstitutional. He has also struck down Prop 89, adopted in 1988.
This is very good news for the CCC blog, as we fiercely advocated against Prop 9 and were truly dismayed at its passage. We pointed out how pointless it was to advance the rights of victims by denying parole to offenders, showcased research proving that the proposition did nothing to actually increase victim rights, and followed up litigation against the law from its inception through oral arguments and the partial dismantlement of some provisions of the law.
We said it in 2009 and we’ll say it again: Propositions that purport to advance victim causes and avenge the cruelties done to them through committing more cruelties do not address the needs of all victims and certainly not of the victim population as a whole. The best thing we can do for victims is to make sure they cease being victims as quickly as possible by empowering them and putting in place social structures that offer chances for rehabilitation and transformation for perpetrators. Any wholesale effort to curtail the ability to offer people a window of hope at the end of a long sentence does no favors to victims, and is unnecessarily cruel and wasteful.