One year later, jury still out on Marsy’s Law protections

By John Hult

They had their suspect. Now, they needed the victim.

For two days, Kelli Peterson searched for the owner of a vacant house where a transient who’d once lived there was caught sleeping.

She called the contractor renovating the home, who told her to call an owner in Minnesota, who turned out to be an agent for a larger entity in another state.

“I could never get to the right person,” Peterson said.

Peterson works as a victim witness assistant for the Minnehaha County state’s attorney’s office, and her search was part of the county’s ongoing effort to comply with a year-old constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law.

The voter-approved measure mandates that prosecutors offer privacy, consultations and court notifications to crime victims. One year in, the jury remains out on whether Marsy’s Law has made a meaningful difference for victims.

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