After the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers recently filed a lawsuit to prevent the constitutional amendment establishing a victims’ bill of rights in Kentucky from appearing on this November’s ballot, state Senator Whitney Westerfield of Christian County intends to be involved in defending the measure.
Westerfield sponsored the legislation known as Marsy’s Law for several years before it made it to the governor’s desk during this year’s session of the General Assembly. If approved by Kentucky voters, the amendment would give victims of crimes guaranteed rights such as being notified when an offender has been released, having a right to restitution and having a right to be present for court proceedings, among other items.
The lawyers suing Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes to prevent the initiative from appearing on the ballot contend its language is vague and misleading and could cause confusion.
Senator Westerfield has filed a motion to intervene and says while the challenge is disappointing, he believes the law is on his side.
Westerfield says if the judge grants his motion to intervene, he’ll defend the substance of Marsy’s Law.
He says he’s fairly confident he and the other parties can be successful in keeping the initiative on the ballot by showing the wording and legislation is lawful.
A hearing is set for Monday morning in Franklin Circuit Court. Westerfield says he expects another challenge from the criminal defense lawyers if their current attempt is unsuccessful.