COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a case that will define some of the parameters and limits of a crime victims’ rights law that amended the state’s Constitution in 2017.
A man convicted of rape and kidnapping charges appealed his conviction to the state’s highest court, which heard arguments on Wednesday on whether Marsy’s Law allows a victim to sit at the prosecutor’s table during a trial, cleveland.com reported.
An attorney for Theodis Montgomery argued that his conviction should be overturned and he should be given a new trial because his accuser sat at the prosecutor’s table during the trial. Addison Spriggs, his attorney, argued that the seating arrangement gave undue credibility to the witness, the newspaper reported.
A prosecutor for Stark County, Kristine Beard, said the victim’s mere presence at the prosecutor’s table doesn’t make a difference.
“I don’t think bolsters their credibility any more than presenting their testimony on behalf of the state, any more than letting them sit in the back of the courtroom, behind the defendant or behind the state’s chair,” she said.
Marsy’s Law was passed overwhelmingly by Ohio voters in November 2017 as an amendment to the state Constitution. Among other things, it requires police to notify victims of their right to be present at all court proceedings involving their case, but does not specifically allow their being seated at the prosecutor’s table. The law also requires police to notify victims or their families when an offender is released from jail or escapes.