Marsy’s Law: A victim’s right to speedy trial

EUREKA – While the United States Constitution guarantees a defendant the right to a speedy trial, California’s voters enacted similar protections for victims and surviving family members called Marsy’s Law.
It’s named after Marsalee Nicholas who was killed in 1983 in Santa Barbara. According to, a week after her death, her brother and mother were confronted by the suspect at a grocery store unaware the man had been released on bail.
Nicholas’ family began advocating for victims and in 2008 California passed Marsy’s Law at the ballot box.
Also referred to as the Victim’s Bill of Rights, the law outlines a number of protections including consideration of the victim and their family when setting bail or parole requirements.
Most pertinent to the Marci Kitchen case, the law requires a speedy trial and a prompt and final conclusion though it does not define what constitutes as speedy.
Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads cited this law Tuesday at the Humboldt County Courthouse when she objected to a six-and-a-half month delay of Kitchen’s jury trial. Eads asked that no additional continuances be granted.
If Kitchen’s trial begins on May 29, 2018 as set, it will be forty-four days shy of two years since the crime occurred.