Statement by Marsy’s Law for Florida
Regarding Inaction on Marsy’s Law for Florida Implementing Bill
“We are extremely disappointed the Florida Legislature chose not to take action and pass a Marsy’s Law for Florida implementing bill during the 2019 Legislative Session, following an election where the voters made substantial changes in the state constitution to safeguard rights for victims of crime. While Marsy’s Law for Florida was self-executing and is now in effect, proposed implementing language would have removed or changed laws that are now in conflict with the constitution, and would have provided clarity in statute for consistent application of victims’ rights throughout the state. The process for those accused of a crime to exercise their rights is the same in every part of Florida and victims of those crimes deserve no less. This is what the voters of Florida said when they overwhelmingly voted in favor of Amendment 6 last November.
Without an implementing bill, crime victims, law enforcement, state attorneys and judges must attempt to fulfill the constitutional obligations without the uniformity and clarity from updating state laws. No doubt this will lead to victims, who are already traumatized, having to hire lawyers and go to court when their rights are being violated, and judges having to set procedures in place where locally established procedures are non-existent or are lacking. Even public defenders and defense attorneys are poorly served without the guidance an implementing bill would have provided.
It is very disturbing to us that despite the vote of the people on Amendment 6, this legislature refused to make crime victims’ rights a priority – refusing to even schedule hearings in either legislative chamber. This while at the same time prioritizing reforms in the criminal justice system for those convicted of crimes. We aren’t saying considering criminal justice reforms for the convicted isn’t important, but it sends a chilling message when that is prioritized above legislation for crime victims.
Our deepest appreciation to Senator Lauren Book for her continued advocacy for victims’ rights and her efforts to move a Marsy’s Law for Florida implementing bill forward this session. Marsy’s Law for Florida isn’t going anywhere and we will continue to work to the benefit of crime victims, with all of those willing to work with us.”