Rep. Hazlewood's proposed 'Marsy's Law' to protect Tennessee crime victims draws concerns

State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, speaks at the Times Free Press on Nov. 15, 2019. / Staff photo by Robin Rudd

NASHVILLE - A proposed Tennessee constitutional amendment sponsored by Rep. Patsy Hazlewood that gives crime victims a greater role in the judicial process is drawing concerns from the American Civil Liberties Union-Tennessee.

The amendment grants a greater right to privacy for victims, which has open records advocates fretting it could make things more difficult for the public and news organizations to obtain certain information about crimes and victims.

The Signal Mountain Republican's House Joint Resolution 822, if it passes the lengthy process in the state Legislature and is eventually approved by Tennessee voters, would insert "Marsy's Law" into the state constitution.

"All we're trying to do is elevate victims' rights to the same level as defendants' rights in the Constitution and provide some redress," Hazlewood said in a Times Free Press interview this week after the resolution cleared its first House panel.