Has Marsy’s Law made an impact in Bismarck?

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Marsy's Law was created by an Initiated Measure which was passed by North Dakota voters last November.

Lawmakers heard from police officers at Tuesday's Interim Judiciary Committee hearing about changes the law has made in North Dakota.

A little over a year ago 44,000 signatures to bring Marsy's law to North Dakota were delivered to Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

Last November the initiative overwhelmingly passed with 62 percent of the vote. Since then, the law has made an impact.

"As far as I can tell from looking back at the records, Marsy's law has been evoked at the Bismarck Police Department approximately 11 times,” said Bismarck Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler. “That is a very small number when you consider how many reports we take on an average day and yearly."

Marsy's law is not new, seven other states have passed it.

Kathleen Boyle Wrigley, a strong supporter of the initiative said crime victims need constitutional protections.

So far, the Bismarck Police Department says they haven't seen much of an impact.

"I'm not sure how much of a need there actually was for the law because I think a lot of the things it's asking us to do we were already doing in the first place," said Ziegler.

Bismarck PD may have not been impacted greatly, but what about criminal attorney's?

"You used to be able to interview these people, depose them to find out whether or not they were telling the truth or if they were fabricating stuff... it often times if not many times resolves these cases now we don't have that opportunity," said criminal attorney Chad McCabe.

Ziegler says Marsy's law is here to stay and believes it can be tweaked to improve it.

But the law is expected to continue as is for now.