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National

FL: A National Push For Victims’ Rights is Now Hitting Florida. But Critics Are Fighting Back

[injusticetoday.com]

Voters in Florida may soon get to decide whether to give victims of crime a bigger say in the criminal justice system.

A proposed amendment to the state constitution known as Marsy’s Law for Florida would enshrine specific rights for crime victims, such as the right to privacy and the “right to be reasonably protected from the accused.” It would also give victims legal standing to testify during hearings to determine a defendant’s bail, sentencing, plea deals and parole.

“The pain a victim suffers in the aftermath of a crime is hard enough without being revictimized by the criminal justice system,” said Senator Lauren Book of Broward County, herself a victim of sexual abuse as a child and now an advocate for Marsy’s Law for Florida. “Marsy’s Law will give each victim the promise of having their voice heard.”

On February 20, Senator Book and Pasco County, Florida Sheriff Chris Nocco introduced the amendment, which would add victims’ rights language to Florida’s constitution. According to the campaign, it would create “enforceable constitutional protections, the same level that is afforded to those accused and convicted, nothing more and nothing less.” If the Florida Constitution Revision Commission approves the amendment, it will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot, where it requires 60 percent approval by voters to be added to the state constitution.

 

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  1. AlexO

    “A proposed amendment to the state constitution known as Marsy’s Law for Florida would enshrine specific rights for crime victims, such as the right to privacy and the “right to be reasonably protected from the accused.”

    Literally the absolute opposite for all of us.

  2. PJ

    Why don’t they just put the offender on a cross and let the victim hammer in the nails…Geez!!

  3. Joe123

    Sounds like the beginning of the end of America, disguised as a cute bill, as if ‘victims’ don’t already have enough representation and protection in this country… As if the people going to prison or dealing with the repercussions of the justice system aren’t victims as well. Why is this country all about Dividing groups of people? It seems to get worse every year.

  4. AJ

    If this in any way changes a defendant’s right to a fair trial, I doubt it will survive judicial scrutiny. If (read: When) the lemming-citizenry approve it, you can expect the first case subjected to it will get appealed to SCOTUS. As the other article recently posted on here (“NY: OUTDATED IDEAS ABOUT VIOLENT CRIME HURT VICTIMS AND TRAP OFFENDERS”) points out, crimes are against the State, not a person. If that’s the case, why should a person get to have this exclusive and biased input at every single stage? This is especially troubling at bail (i.e. prior to a conviction!). Since when is a victim part of the adversarial prosecution-defense system of our courts? This is so screwed up, it’s ridiculous. But once again, “it’s Florida.” Banana Republic.

  5. totally against public registry

    “A proposed amendment to the state constitution known as Marsy’s Law for Florida would enshrine specific rights for crime victims, such as the right to privacy and the “right to be reasonably protected from the accused.” It would also give victims legal standing to testify during hearings to determine a defendant’s bail, sentencing, plea deals and parole.”

    Don’t victims already have their voices heard? I don’t think a victim should have the right to dictate how to run a court proceedings- bail amount? parole time? sentencing? plea deals? Might as well have the victim sit in as judge and jury!

  6. Don’t tread on me

    I am losing all faith that this will ever get over turned. They continue to pile on more and more. I believe it is time to begin forming a militia. We need to begin defending ourselves against these attacks. Our constitution guarantees us specific rights. If we do not stand up and fight in a way that our enemies will listen, then we only have ourselves to blame.

    • AlexO

      I’m growing more and more pessimistic about the constitution granting anyone any real rights given that every single one of them has an asterisk and they’re being blatantly ignored because of BS loopholes (and yes, they are loopholes; non-punitive my ass).

      • New Person

        You completed your punishment, compelled service to the state. The continued compelled service to the state after your custody has been completed is unconstitutional.

        13th amendment. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment to a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

        If you stop to register or comply with any registration rules or restrictions, then you will be punished. But the registry isn’t punishment. So if it isn’t punishment, but you’re forced to serve the state still under threat of law, then this involuntary servitude crosses the threshold of being unconstitutional. Key words in the 13th amendment are “convicted” and “except as a punishment to a crime”. Registrant were convicted and the registry is not punishment.

  7. Tim Moore

    It is sometimes obvious there is a victim of a crime and efforts should be made to comfort and remediate the pain, but it is up to the court to decide who is the perpetrator. This law subverts that process and makes the presumption before the trial. In some cases the accuser is simply lying. Accusee or accusor, that is what they are without the evidence yet presented. If we assume sometime the accused is innocence, then does not she or he deserve to be comforted and feel secure? After all the accused faces the potential violence from the state, which prison is or even death. If these bills were presented basically for what they are, as accuser rights bills, the popular support would wane.

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