Beginning tomorrow and on each day in September, Marsy’s Law for Florida will highlight on its social media platforms 30 different reasons why proposed constitutional Amendment 6, which embeds specific victims’ rights and protections in the state constitution, is necessary. The “30 Years, 30 Reasons” social media campaign coincides with the approach of the 30th anniversary of Florida’s passage of the Victims of Crime Amendment (Amendment 2) in November 1988. At the time of its passage, Amendment 2 made Florida the first state to constitutionally guarantee the rights of crime victims.
Now, three decades later, Florida is one of only 15 states without clear, enforceable victims’ rights in its state constitution.
Florida’s current constitutional language addressing victims’ rights is a single sentence in article 1, section 16: “Victims of crime or their lawful representatives, including the next of kin of homicide victims, are entitled to the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, to the extent that these rights do not interfere with constitutional rights of the accused.”
Proponents of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida argue that phrases such as “when relevant” and “crucial stages” are ambiguous and left up to interpretation. They also argue that these minimal rights are not being applied and enforced consistently from judicial circuit to judicial circuit. With a clear list of enumerated rights in the state’s most powerful legal document, victims will be assured provision of these rights and protections.
For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit marsyslawforfl.com.