Marsy's Law and Family Law

August 20, 2015

Marsy's Law and Family Law -- Know your rights

What few victim's of crime (specifically crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence) who have on-going family law cases understand is that they are protected by the California Constitution Article I, SEction 28(b) provides a list of rights generally known as "Marsy's Law."

In it, rights of the victim are specifically innumerated: including but not limited to not having to speak to the attorney for the defendant, the right to refuse a deposition, and others.

Now not speaking to the other side or his/her attorney in a family law case may be impossible -- however, victims fo DV and sexual assault do not have to speak specifically about the incidents which may have led to a currently pending criminal case.

More importantly, a common tactic of attorneys for the abusers in family law is to depose the victim in an effort to gain information that may help the criminal case. Most victims are unaware of his/her right to say no and go along with deposition requests because they are scared, intimidated and quite frankly don't know better.

Furthermore, under Marsy's Law, a victim has the right to be informed and involved in the criminal case -- such as participation and input in plea offers, sentencing, etc.

Again, one of the most frustrating parts of the criminal process for many victims is being kept in the dark. Many are unaware of their rights or how to enforce those rights under Marsy's Law.

A copy of Marsy's Law can be found here

http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/Marsys_Law.html

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