Letters to the Editor
Praise for Rankin
Editor, The Sun:
I would like to honor one of our public servants – Michelle Rankin, the Woodford County jailer. She spends many hours, over and above the required, serving our community.
Often, she is there from 7 a.m. to well after 9 p.m., working to improve conditions for the employees as well as the inmates.
Over the past 16 years, I have been involved in many jail ministries in Texas and Kentucky. For the last year, I have been part of the Woodford County Jail Ministry. Never have I seen anyone as caring and compassionate as she is. She cares for these inmates and encourages them so that they can become a benefit to society.
Last year, she arranged for the children of the inmates to share Christmas with their parent, thus allowing them to show their love. There are many other behind-the-scene things that she does on a daily basis. If you see her, please offer a “thank you” to her. She is helping this county become a little better place to live from the positive impact she has on others’ lives.
Rev. Tommy Sears
Marsy’s Law ‘rife with potential conflicts’
Editor, The Sun:
On Nov. 6, we are asked to vote “yes” or “no” for a constitutional amendment. If the state constitution is amended, that will be embedded law, which will be difficult to change once enacted. This amendment is also known as “Marsy’s Law.” On its face, Marsy’s Law seems like a good idea; however, I find the language misleading. It is a solution without a problem and endangers the presumption of innocence. Remember that phrase, “innocent until proven guilty”?
Our criminal justice system is composed of two advocates (defense for the accused and a prosecutor) arguing about the facts and law before an independent and neutral judge. Implicit in Marsy’s Law is a desire to add a victim’s personal attorney to be in a position equal to and, in some cases, superior to the elected prosecutor. The advocate for the defense would face a prosecutor and an advocate for the victim, endangering the presumption of innocence which is a fundamental right in a court of law.
We already have a “Victim’s Bill of Rights” in Kentucky. It passed in 1986 and has been amended and expanded five times since. It can be found in KRS 421.500 and guarantees extensive rights to victims. Prosecutors are charged with representing the interests of the Commonwealth and victims of crime. They have victims’ advocates in their offices supporting and assisting victims. They routinely stay in touch with victims and follow the bill of rights accorded them.
Often, the entire point of a trial is to determine who is the perpetrator and who is the victim. Marsy’s Law gives the rights to victims pretrial, which predetermines (the) victim. It is often the case that the jury is called upon to determine if a crime has occurred at all, or if it occurred, who is the perpetrator. Under Marsy’s Law, an innocent person erroneously charged with a crime asking to be released on bond would face a victim’s attorney arguing to keep the innocent person in jail pending trial.
No one opposes providing rights to victims. Some may even say those accused of crimes should have fewer rights. But our forefathers recognized the necessity of a fair and balanced trial and equal representation. This proposal would significantly alter the judicial system as we know it. Marsy’s Law is rife with potential conflicts and innumerable problems which do not serve the interests of justice for all.