State Question 794 Passes Overwhelmingly

For Immediate Release

Nov. 6, 2018

Media Contact: Alex Weintz; [email protected] or (405) 518-5135


State Question 794 Passes Overwhelmingly

Crime Victims Celebrate Victory, Constitutional Rights


OKLAHOMA CITY – State Question 794, also known as “Marsy’s Law,” passed overwhelmingly tonight, with over 75% of Oklahoma voters casting their ballots in support of the measure. The initiative creates a stronger, constitutionally protected set of rights for victims of crime.

Speaking at an election night watch party packed with crime victims, advocates and supportive law enforcement personnel, Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma Executive Director Kim Moyer said SQ 794’s passage was the result of over a year of grassroots mobilization.

“The effort to pass Marsy’s Law has always been driven by people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by crime,” said Moyer. “They know firsthand how the criminal justice system can make people feel powerless, voiceless and lost. Because of their hard work, we are starting a new chapter tonight. We are creating a system that treats victims as human beings worthy of respect instead of numbers on a court docket.”

Lauren Layman, president of Oklahoma Homicide Survivors Support Group, said that the passage of SQ 794 meant that something good has come from the tragedies suffered by crime victims.

“Those of us who have lost loved ones to violent crime are especially happy tonight,” said Layman. “Our experiences in the criminal justice system have helped to shine a light on a system that desperately needed change.”

Brian Hermanson, a Republican district attorney representing Kay and Noble counties, said he was a proud supporter of SQ 794.

“At the district attorneys office, we fight for justice and accountability,” said Hermanson. “You can’t have either of those things unless you guarantee victims the rights and protections they deserve.  It’s not a partisan issue; it’s just about doing what is right.”

Josh Harris, president of the Oklahoma Young Democrats, joined the effort to support Marsy’s Law after losing a loved one to violent crime.

“This is a cause that is greater than politics,” said Harris. “Every victim deserves rights and a voice in the process.”

SQ 794 places a new, specific set of distinct rights for crime victims in the Oklahoma Constitution. Some of these basic, commonsense rights include:

  • The right to have standing in court
  • The right to present at all proceedings involving the case
  • The right to reasonable and timely notice of proceedings
  • The right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement or pardon
  • The right to timely notice of any release, escape or death of the accused, if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay
  • The right to timely information about the outcome of the case

State Question 794, also known as “Marsy’s Law,” was endorsed by over 20 Oklahoma district attorneys; law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police; victims’ advocacy organizations, including the YWCA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving; the Oklahoma Faith Leaders and the Oklahoma Conference of Churches; and has received bipartisan support from Republican and Democratic elected officials from across the state. Click here for a complete list of endorsements.

Marsy’s Law is named for Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was murdered in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend. A few days after her death, her mother and brother walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by Marsy’s accused murderer. Marsy’s family had not been notified that he had been released on bail.

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