North Carolina Voters Approve Stronger Constitutional Rights for Crime Victims


November 6, 2018 


Contact:     Brad Crone     919-809-3311

Anna Roberts    919-208-4050

Chris Sinclair    919-931-4652


North Carolina Voters Approve Stronger Constitutional Rights for Crime Victims 

Bipartisan Victims’ Rights Amendment Passed by 62 %


Raleigh, NC – North Carolina voters approved stronger constitutional rights for victims of crime on election day with a 62% in favor of the crime victims’ rights amendment.  The amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, drew bipartisan support across the state on November 6th.  

“North Carolina’s voters - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents - made their voices heard today.  Voters chose to support important stronger rights for victims of crime - to give victims and their families an equal level of constitutional protections as the accused and convicted,” said Chris Sinclair, campaign director for Marsy’s Law for NC.  “Now is the time for the state to invest in improved technology and ideas to better serve crime victims.”

The victims’ rights amendment will guarantee that victims of crime in North Carolina are informed about their rights and the services available to them, that they get notification of court proceedings, and updates on developments in their criminal cases. It will allow victims of crime to be present and heard at court proceedings if they choose, and it will inform victims and their families about custody changes of the accused, including release or escape from prison.

The law was debated and vetted with stakeholders for more than a year when it passed the North Carolina General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan votes - more than 150 yes votes from Democrats and Republicans - in June 2018 to send it to voters for consideration.

“Supporting North Carolina’s victims of crime isn’t a partisan issue.  Marsy’s Law had broad bipartisan support across the state.  We need more protections for our victims and this new constitutional amendment will ensure victims have established rights in the legal process,” said Rep. Ken Goodman (D- Richmond County).

More than 50 local town councils and counties also issued resolutions in support of this law during the campaign.

“Today was an important victory for victims’ rights.  I am proud to have supported this amendment from the very beginning. I am equally proud of North Carolina voters putting the rights of victims as their priority,” said Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez. 

The victims’ rights amendment will provide an equal level of constitutional protections to North Carolina crime victims that are already given to the accused and convicted.  It has North Carolina-specific language that will focus on crimes against a person, including victims of violent misdemeanors, and felony property crimes - and guarantee that victims receive certain rights in a number of important ways including: 

  • informing victims and their families about their rights and the services available to them,
  • giving them the right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in a criminal case,
  • protecting their safety by notifying them in a timely manner regarding changes to the offender’s custodial status,
  • allowing victims and their families to exercise their right to be present - and heard - at court proceedings, and
  • providing input to the prosecutor before the disposition is finalized.

"I am proud that North Carolina’s voters - from every political party and every corner of the state - agreed that victims of crime deserve stronger rights in our constitution,” said Frances Battle, Executive Director of the NC Victims Assistance Network.  “Being a victim of crime is not a role chosen - but it is one that is life-changing.  There are few causes more important in society than protecting victims of crime.  This is an important step forward on behalf of North Carolina crime victims and their families to keep them informed at every step of the process."

Visit the Marsy’s Law for NC website for in-depth information about the victims’ rights amendment:


About Marsy’s Law for NC

Marsy’s Law for North Carolina will amend the state constitution to provide an equal level of constitutional protection to victims of crime that is already afforded to the accused and convicted.  Marsy’s Law is supported across the political spectrum to ensure that victims have the same “co-equal” rights as the accused and convicted - nothing more; nothing less. 

While there were some victims’ rights protections currently in North Carolina’s constitution, they are not applied the same way from county to county and there is not currently broad, statewide, enforceable language equally outlined across the state.  The Marsy’s Law for NC amendment will give victims of crime a voice they do not have by law in the criminal justice process, and the safety and peace-of-mind to know their assailant has not been released without their knowledge. 


About Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer.  The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail.  After their experience, they formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide. 

There are already 35 states that have some form of victims’ rights in their constitution, including California, Illinois, North and South Dakota and Ohio which all passed Marsy’s Law in recent years.  In 2018 it was on the ballot in six additional states, including North Carolina.