Published: Tuesday, 20 June 2017 17:12
By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — Corey Edwards visited County Commissioners Thom Collier and Roger Reed on Tuesday seeking their support for a statewide ballot initiative protecting victims' rights. Edwards is field director for Marsy's Law for Ohio, a group advocating for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing victims and their families the same rights accorded to offenders.
“It adds nothing to and takes nothing away from criminals' rights,” said Edwards. “It elevates victims' rights so everyone is on an even field. The reality is, it's probably going to pass, but it's not going to do any good if no one knows anything about it.”
In response to Collier's question regarding why the group chose a constitutional amendment versus working through the Ohio Legislature, Edwards said “the big thing is it tends to get watered down” when an issue goes through the legislature.
Edwards said that Ohio statutes passed in 1994 grant victims rights, but those rights are not being enforced. Victims advocates thus have to focus on making sure victims' rights are not violated rather than focusing on the case itself. “A constitutional amendment will clarify once and for all that victims have equal rights in Ohio,” he said. Those rights include the right to:
Receive timely notification of changes in proceedings, major developments in the case and the offender's custodial status
Be present at court proceedings
Provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized
Be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender's release
As an example, Edwards cited a scenario in which a victim's rights were violated during a trial. Currently, the victim has no recourse but to wait until after the trial is completed and then file a grievance. With a constitutional amendment, Edwards said there can be immediate intervention.
As a former legislator, Collier said there is a purpose for the legislature and that he is leery any time someone wants to change things via ballot. “There's no opportunity for correction, change, etc.,” he said. “In my opinion, that is a dangerous way to go on any bill, not just this one.”
Marsy's Law for Ohio will collect signatures through Thursday. “We do have high hopes, high aspirations. It looks like we will meet [the signatures] we need to go on,” said Edwards.
Marsy's Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a University of California Santa Barbara student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her murder, her brother, Dr. Henry Nicholas, and her mother walked into a grocery store after visiting Marsy's grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea he had been released on bail.
Dr. Nicholas is the key backer and proponent of Marsy's Law, which passed California first in 2008. The initiative passed in the five states in which it has been on the ballot. Twenty-five states have something similar already on their books. Ohio, along with Kentucky, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Maine, does not have a victims' rights guarantee in its constitution.
Published: Monday, 19 June 2017 08:56
MOUNT VERNON - Knox County Treasurer Shelley Coon announces that real estate tax statements have been mailed and are due on Friday, July 7, 2017.
Payments by cash, check or money order are accepted in the office. Credit cards payments can be made online at www.officialpayments.com or by phone at 1-800-272-9829 using jurisdiction code 8436. Official Payments, the service provider, does charge a fee for this service.
Payments may also be made at any First-Knox National Bank office within Knox County. Payments received by mail must be postmarked by July 7, 2017 to avoid a late payment penalty.
Property owners are reminded they are responsible for paying their taxes even if a statement is not received. Anyone who does not receive their statement should contact the Treasurer’s Office at 740- 393-6735 Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. The office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th for the holiday.