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Riverside County DA's Office recognizes anniversary of Marsy's Law


November 2, 2023

On Nov. 4, 2008, the Victim’s Bill of Rights, otherwise known as Marsy’s Law, was approved by voters of the State of California, and victims were enshrined with rights and due processes, which were not afforded to the law’s namesake.

Marsy’s Law offers 17 rights and protections to crime victims and their families.  It is named for Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas, a student at UC Santa Barbara, who was stalked and murdered by her boyfriend in 1983.  Just one week after her murder, Marsy’s family was confronted by her killer, who, unknown to them, had already been released on bail.  Marsy’s brother sponsored the bill, which put California at the forefront of victims’ rights.

Starting in September, on the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, and leading up to the 15th anniversary of the passage of Marsy’s law, on Nov. 4, 2023, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office introduced ‘Marsy’s Law Mondays.’ This video series, which is provided in both English and Spanish, aims to empower our community and shed light on the crucial topic of victims’ rights. Each week, a representative from the Riverside County DA’s Office Division of Victim Services (DVS) provides information about one of the rights which are now part of California’s constitution.  

Among the protected rights are:

  • Fairness and respect
  • Protection from the defendant
  • Victim safety considerations in setting bail and release conditions
  • Notice of public proceedings
  • Speedy trial

“The intention of this series, and our advocacy for victims, is to educate survivors about their rights to accountability and fairness,” said Melissa Donaldson, Division of Victim Services Director. “Marsy’s Law is a guiding rule of law that helps ensure victims’ voices are heard, and their rights are enforced throughout California.”

DVS specialists at the Riverside County DA’s Office help victims and their families navigate the criminal justice system. From January through September of this year, the Riverside County DA’s Office Division of Victim Services served 30,434 victims and witnesses and provided 325,975 services.

The Office provides victims and witnesses with status updates about their cases, can accompany them to court, helps in filing for crime victim compensation, and links them with services such as therapy, support programs, counseling referrals and emergency assistance. DVS can be reached at (951) 955-5450.