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Victims' Rights Amendment on November Ballot: What You Need to Know

The victims' rights amendment all stems from a California law named after "Marsy Nicholas." Her ex-boyfriend stalked and killed her in 1983.

GREENSBORO,N.C. (WFMY)-- We aren't far from November elections and when it's time to hit the polls, you'll be voting for more than just candidates. You will be asked to remember and honor Marsy.

The victims' rights amendment all stems from a California law named after "Marsy Nicholas." Her ex-boyfriend stalked and killed her in 1983.

One week later, her parents walked into a grocery store after visiting their daughter's grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. The family had no idea he'd been released on bail.

A new 1-minute radio ad hit the air today and if you heard it, it made you stop and think. The ad asks, who would oppose giving crime victim's equal rights?

"Right now under North Carolina State Constitution, the people that commit violent crimes have more rights, constitutional rights, than the victims do. This is trying to correct that error," said Republican Representative Kyle Hall.

Hall is a co-sponsor of the bill. He's outraged that victims and victims' families know little about what happens after the arrest.

"It's simply horrifying. You know even the example of Marsy, that her family runs into her murderer and they have no idea he's been released. No family should ever have to go through that where they run into a murderer or rapist and have no idea that he or she has been released," said Representative Hall.

Right now, victims have legal rights if the crime was a major felony, certain domestic violence cases, or another serious crimes.

The amendment would expand the types of offenses to include all crimes against the person. These rights would also apply in these cases if committed by juveniles.

Democrat Representative Pricey Harrison is against the amendment. She said we already have constitutional protections in place for victims, but what we lack is funding.

"We don't have funding to pay for the current requirements and DA offices all have victims services offices, or most of them do, but we haven't been able to adequately fund them so what we're doing with this constitution amendment is we're adding in some cases duplicative rights or regurgitated rights, but we're not providing the funding needed to get the victims counseling that they need or transportation that they need to get to the hearings," said Representative Pricey.

Some published reports say the cost would be as high as 30 million dollars per year from additional prosecutors. Other reports suggest 11 million per year to our justice system.

To see the actual amendment before you vote, visit here.