Legal Update: Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Files Amicus Brief in Department of Justice Appeal
We have an update on the ongoing legal challenge against Marsy’s Law in Wisconsin. First, a quick refresher on the case.
As you might remember, a group of criminal defense lawyers who operate under the euphemistically named Wisconsin Justice Initiative (WJI) sued in late 2019 to try and remove Marsy’s Law from the ballot during the April 2020 election. They argued the ballot question was both misleading and insufficiently captured all that is included in the amendment. Back in February 2020, Dane County Judge Frank Remington denied their motion for a temporary injunction. That decision allowed the vote to go forward where Marsy’s Law was ratified with a remarkable 75 percent of the vote.
However, while the legal arguments stayed substantially the same, Judge Remington changed his mind and sided with WJI on the permanent injunction. Remington ruled this past November that the ballot question should have actually been two questions with one question focused on taking away the rights of the accused and, therefore, the amendment vote was not valid. The good news is that Judge Remington stayed his decision pending the appeals process – meaning Marsy’s Law stays in effect until the Appeals Court rules.
The State Department of Justice (DOJ) soon announced their appeal of Remington’s decision, and that case is currently pending before the Wisconsin District III Court of Appeals. While DOJ is leading the effort to overturn Remington’s decision, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving weighed in on the case by filing a non-party brief, commonly known as an amicus brief, in support of Marsy’s Law and keeping the amendment in place.
The brief touches on the long history of victims’ rights efforts in Wisconsin and points out that strengthening the rights of victims does not take away any rights for accused persons. The victims' rights movement is about the rights of victims, and victim empowerment can be, and is, independent of the rights of the accused. In the short time that Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin has been in place, we have already seen this reality in action, as the rights of crime victims are being diligently protected alongside the rights of the accused.
You can read the full amicus brief here.
The people of Wisconsin have been the foundation of our state’s proud history of championing victims’ rights for more than 40 years—most recently, at the ballot box last April. We remain confident that Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin will ultimately be upheld, the will of these 1.1 million Wisconsin voters will prevail, and equal rights for crime victims will remain a reality here in Wisconsin.
The Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin Team