South Dakota Voters Pass Amendment Y, Ballot Measure to Strengthen Victims' Rights Under Marsy's Law


For Immediate Broadcast & Distribution

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


SIOUX FALLS, SD – Marsy’s Law For All announced tonight that Amendment Y has overwhelmingly passed in South Dakota. Amendment Y will strengthen those rights currently set forth under Marsy’s Law for South Dakota and will ensure crime victims continue to receive the same level of constitutional protections as the accused and convicted.

Erinn Mahathey, State Director, Marsy’s Law for South Dakota, said, “South Dakota continues to lead the way in constitutional rights for crime victims. Tonight, South Dakota’s crime victims earned a monumental victory. We are grateful to the voters who’ve now supported equal constitutional protections for crime victims not once, but twice. Crime victims in South Dakota will be treated fairly – with dignity and respect. Their voices matter and will be heard throughout every step of the criminal justice process.”

“This victory was made possible by the countless crime victims, family members, victim advocates, law enforcement, volunteers and elected officials who worked tirelessly to clarify, strengthen and elevate crime victims' rights in South Dakota. We are grateful,” Mahathey concluded.

State Senator Jim Bolin, and Marsy’s Law for South Dakota supporter, said, “I am pleased that the voters have passed Amendment Y. With this action, victims' rights will be enhanced and the public will now gain valuable information from law enforcement to expedite the solving of crimes. I am proud to have been involved with this effort to help victims of crimes in South Dakota." 

Krista Heeren-Graber, Executive Director of South Dakota Network, and Marsy’s Law for South Dakota surrogate, said, “Amendment Y provides for necessary changes to the constitutional victims’ rights to better utilize state and county resources and ensures that law enforcement and other professionals have meaningful working relationships to help victims of crime and their families. Amendment Y offers changes to the current constitutional victims’ rights specific to the needs of South Dakotans and is written to benefit crime victims in South Dakota. Amendment Y is a very good change for crime victims in our state.”

Pennington County Sheriff, and Marsy’s Law for South Dakota key supporter, Kevin Thom said, “We’re grateful that voters approved Amendment Y. It strengthens Marsy’s Law and enhances services for victims of crime. The amendment guarantees law enforcement agencies the authority to share information to help solve crimes.”

Michelle Markgraf, Executive Director of The Compass Center, and victims’ rights advocate, said, “With the passage of Amendment Y, survivors of sexual and domestic abuse will see their rights continue to be upheld. Additionally, Amendment Y gives them more resources as they navigate the criminal investigation and prosecution of their case. Whenever we as a state can direct more resources to survivors, that’s a major win for them.”

Minnehaha County Sheriff, and Marsy’s Law for South Dakota key supporter, Mike Milstead, said, “This is a great win for crime victims and all South Dakotans. This further strengthens victims rights and, at the same time, improves law enforcement's ability to keep the public informed.”

About Marsy’s Law For All

Marsy’s Law is a bipartisan cause. Providing crime victims with constitutional protections is one of the rare political causes that both Republicans and Democrats have been unified in supporting. Marsy’s Law has been passed in North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Illinois, and Ohio.

Marsy’s Law is a constitutional amendment for victims’ rights that would guarantee equal rights to crime victims. Under Marsy’s Law, victims and their families receive information about their rights and the services available to them. They have the right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in the criminal case. They have the right to receive timely notifications of changes to the offender’s custodial status. Victims and their families have the right to be present at court proceedings and to provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized. They have the right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any process that may result in the offender’s release. Finally, they have the right to restitution. 

For more information on Marsy’s Law For All, please visit: