Port: Thanks to Marsy’s Law corporations can maybe have victim rights too
North Dakota voters made a grievous mistake when they, at the behest of a campaign funded by a California billionaire, approved the “Marsy’s Law” amendment to the state constitution.
The fallout from that mistake continues to unfold in state courts.
Earlier this year I wrote about a state Supreme Court decision in State vs. Strom dealing with restitution in an embezzlement case. That opinion struck down state law allowing courts to consider a defendant’s ability to pay when ordering restitution because the Marsy’s Law amendment (Article I, Section 25) gives victims the “right to full and timely restitution in every case and from each offender for all losses suffered by the victim as a result of the criminal or delinquent conduct.”
The state Supreme Court found no room in that language for considering whether a defendant can pay. Which, as I pointed out at the time, may have 8th amendment implications. That part of our national constitution, which was just recently incorporated to the states by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving civil asset forfeiture, prohibits cruel and unusual punishments up to and including excessive penalties.