Senator Book Seeks to Ensure New Rights Apply Equally to All Floridians
Florida State Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) today filed SB 1426, which will ensure consistent application of Amendment 6, known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, passed by a strong majority of voters in November 2018.
“Florida voters have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of equal rights for victims of crime,” said Senator Book. “My bill will ensure that everyone in the justice system is on the same page and working together to respect crime victims’ rights and keep them safe from further harm.”
SB 1426 clarifies some aspects of Amendment 6 to protect the constitutional rights of every crime victim throughout Florida, as well as to protect the judicial process and ensure all participants, including victims, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement and defense attorneys, know their rights and responsibilities under the new constitutional language. The bill also defines important terms now in the state constitution, such as “confer” and “heard.”
“Marsy’s Law is really quite simple, yet ensuring it is interpreted consistently is vital,” said Ann Rowe, Tallahassee survivor of sexual assault and battery by a stranger with a firearm. “When someone is victimized by a criminal, their rights should be at least equal to those of the criminal. On the day of my attacker’s plea hearing, I read my victim’s statement, however, I was not allowed to face my attacker while doing so or say his name. Crime victims should be treated with respect and dignity, and, at a minimum, never, ever be shut out of the process. Their privacy should not be violated, and they should be allowed to have a meaningful role in all judicial proceedings. Senator Book’s bill will go a long way toward making sure victims’ rights are equally protected everywhere in Florida and not subject to interpretation based on where the crime occurred.”
Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida passed November 6, 2018 with more than 60 percent of the vote. During the November elections, versions of Marsy’s Law also passed in Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Prior to that, Marsy’s Law had been enacted in California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.
For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit marsyslawforfl.com.
About Marsy’s Law
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.