Press Releases

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) today announced that he is supporting Marsy’s Law, a proposed amendment to the state of Nevada’s constitution to expand protections and rights for victims of crime. Heller is a strong supporter of victims’ rights and has a long history of championing policies to help deliver justice to victims and hold perpetrators of violent crimes accountable for their actions.

Currently, victims and their families are provided no enforceable rights under the Nevada Constitution. A number of states have addressed this disparity by adding enforceable victims’ rights and protections into their state constitutions, but Nevada is one that has not. Marsy’s Law will appear on the ballot in Nevada this November as Question 1. If Marsy’s Law passes in Nevada, it will create a victims’ bill of rights in the state’s constitution.

“As a champion of policies that will crack down on human trafficking, provide resources for sexual and domestic violence survivors, and improve the criminal justice system’s response to these crimes, I am proud to announce my support for Marsy’s Law during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” said Heller. “Just like the accused, victims deserve to have guaranteed rights that are clearly defined. Victims and their families have been through enough in the wake of a tragedy – they should not be faced with additional trauma. I am pleased that Nevada now has the opportunity to ensure that victims of crimes are fully protected.”

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a 21-year-old college senior who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Shortly after Marsy was killed, her family was confronted by her accused murderer at their local grocery store. The family had no idea that he had been released on bail because the courts and law enforcement, though well meaning, had no obligation to keep them informed. Marsy’s brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, started the Marsy’s Law for All initiative.

Specifically, Marsy’s Law in Nevada would ensure that each person who is the victim of a crime is entitled to:

(a) be treated with fairness and respect and be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process;

(b) be reasonably protected from the defendant;

(c) have the safety of the victim and victim's family considered when setting bail;

(d) prevent release of information the defendant could use to locate the victim;

(e) refuse an interview or deposition unless under court order;

(f) reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency;

(g) reasonable notice of all public proceedings and be present at all public proceedings;

(h) be reasonably heard at any public proceeding;

(i) timely judgment of a case;

(j) provide information to officers concerning the impact of the crime on the victim;

(k) be informed of the conviction, sentence, incarceration, and release date of the defendant;

(l) full and timely restitution;

(m) prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence;

(n) be informed of all post-conviction proceedings;

(o) have the safety of the victim, the victim's family, and the public considered before any parole;

(p) have restitution money first applied to the amount ordered to the victim; and

(q) be informed of the rights in the amendment.

Background on Sen. Heller’s efforts to empower victims of crimes: