The Vice President of Public Affairs for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, Cordon Dekock, spoke at the state question forum Tuesday night regarding the crime victim’s rights amendment, SQ 794.
The measure would amend provision of the state’s constitution to give victims co-equal rights to those accused and convicted.
Dekock said the state chamber doesn’t have a position on 794.
“Marsy’s Law is part of a national
movement,” Dekock said, adding that there are numerous protections for perpetrators of crimes such as pleading the fifth amendment or being innocent until proven guilty. “Supporters argue that they are trying to create rights that are co-equal for victims of crimes as specifically enumerated in the question.”
“I was asked to speak on this measure because there is no organized opposition to the state question,” Dekock said. “A similar measure just passed in Missouri with about 80 percent of the vote. Some of the issues that have been raised around Marsy’s Law is that it could interfere with the defendant’s right to due process.”
Other issues, Dekock said, are that state statutes already offer some protections for victims and administrative costs.
“In some states where there was no infrastructure for [victim notification], there was an associated cost,” Dekock said. “In Oklahoma, as you may know, we already have a number of those systems in place. They are not constitutionally protected rights, but they’re already in place.”
Dekock said that it was his understanding that law enforcement, including the state’s Sheriff’s Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the District Attorney’s Council, have all made statements in support of the amendment.