Obituary: Marcella Nicholas Leach

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Leading advocate for victims’ rights and Malibu resident Marcella Nicholas Leach died on March 16 at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was 85.

Born Marcella Martin on Aug. 23, 1929, in Louisville, Ky., Leach graduated from the University of Louisville and became a teacher in Cincinnati, working up to a position as a school administrator.

She left Louisville in the early ‘60s with son Henry Nicholas, used a $5,000 academic grant to enroll in a journalism graduate program at UCLA and received a master’s degree. She married television writer Robert Leach in 1967 and they settled in Malibu.

After the 1983 murder of daughter Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas, Leach played an integral role in building one of the earliest of California’s victims’ rights organizations, The California Center for Family Survivors of Homicide, and its subgroup, Justice for Homicide Victims.

In 2008, spearheaded by Leach and son Henry, “Marsy’s Law” became a ballot initiative and was later enacted as a constitutional amendment by voters. The law went into effect in November 2008, protecting victims of crime from the defendant, among multiple other legal rights of victims of crime.

She is survived by her son, Broadcom Corp. cofounder Henry Nicholas. Robert Leach died in 2008.