The Minnehaha Co. Commission approved for the State's Attorney to hire a new Victim Witness Assistant immediately.
Aaron McGowan says they have already felt a direct impact after voters approved 'Constitutional Amendment S' or 'Marsy's Law'. The law that expands the list of crimes that requires victim notification, went into effect on November 16.
Currently, there is a State Automated Victim Notification System, but as of right now it can't handle the expanded workload. Right now, it's up to his staff to deliver news to victims about suspects court, parole and release dates. The commission approved for the assistant to be hired in 2017, but McGowan says they need at least one now. The county has handled more than 10,000 adult criminal cases this year.
"We also have 5,000 juvenile cases every year and SAVIN is not, does not incorporate juvenile cases so those are all manpower hours for my office, and a lot of those are strings of burglaries and car hoppings with many, many multiple victims," said McGowan.
Minnehaha Co. Commission Chair Cindy Heiberger said, "We didn't have a budget and we were fighting people from California so sadly this has passed and we will deal with the repercussions which will probably be an increase in taxes and significant cost to our budget going forward which is not budgeted for 2017."
McGowan says immediately after Marsy's Law passed they sent out 800 letters to victims to be compliant. He says once they evaluate the impact of the law he will likely be coming back to the Commission to ask for even more assistants.