The North Las Vegas City Council and Police Chief Alex Perez on Wednesday night threw their support behind a proposed amendment to the Nevada constitution that would expand the rights of crime victims.
Voters will be asked in November 2018 whether to approve a resolution known as “Marsy’s Law,” which aims to protect crime victims from defendants, and ensure they are treated fairly and without intimidation throughout the criminal justice process.
“Our leaders here in North Las Vegas believe in the rights of all of our citizens to be safe, protected, heard, and treated with dignity and fairness,” North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee said. “I’m proud to stand together with my colleagues to promote the safety and well-being of our residents.”
The measure passed the Nevada Legislature in 2015 and 2017, and must pass a statewide vote of the people to be ratified.
North Las Vegas was the first municipality in Nevada to have its entire City Council and police chief endorse Marsy’s Law, which is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a 21-year-old California woman who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in November 1983.
Marsy’s Law is also backed by six Clark County commissioners, five Las Vegas City Council members, four Henderson City Council members and one council member from Boulder City, campaign organizers said.
Opponents, including the public defenders’ offices from Clark and Washoe counties, say a constitutional amendment is unnecessary because existing statutes already guarantee victims’ rights. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada was also in opposition.
“What Marsy’s Law does is it seeks to ensure that victims of crime have equal rights to those of the accused,” Will Batista, Nevada state director for Marsy’s Law, told the City Council on Wednesday.
“We want to ensure that no matter where you live in the state of Nevada that your rights are equal to any other resident across the state,” Batista said. “Our goal is to make sure everybody is on equal footing and we appreciate the City Council’s support for that.”