Constitution Revision Commission Committee Passes Marsy’s Law for Florida
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) Declaration of Rights Committee today voted in favor of a proposal to create a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights in the state constitution, known as Marsy’s Law for Florida. The proposal (Proposal 96), submitted to the CRC by Commissioner Tim Cerio, will provide victims of crimes with rights and protections equal to those of the accused and convicted. In the coming months, the full CRC will vote on Marsy’s Law for Florida.
“This was a critical step forward for Marsy’s Law for Florida and I thank the members of the Declaration of Rights Committee who voted in favor of this commonsense proposal that will bring the scales of justice into balance for Florida victims and their families,” said Commissioner Cerio.
Marsy’s Law for Florida would amend Florida’s Constitution to include basic rights for victims and their families, such as the right to be notified of major developments in the criminal case, the right to be informed if any changes to the offender’s custodial status, the right to restitution and the right to have a voice in court proceedings, plea bargains or parole hearings.
“Our United States Constitution specifies 20 distinct rights for criminals and those accused of crimes. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that speaks to victims’ rights. But, where the U.S. Constitution is silent, Florida’s state constitution does not have to be,” added Commissioner Cerio.
Marsy’s Law for Florida has garnered bipartisan support from CRC members and other leaders across the state. The proposal is currently co-sponsored by CRC Commissioners Patricia Levesque, Darlene Jordan, Fred Karlinsky, Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, Brecht Heuchan, Belinda Keiser and Sen. Darryl Rouson. Sen. Lauren Book, a survivor of child sexual abuse, has also endorsed the measure.
“Floridians deserve the opportunity to vote for constitutional protections for crime victims and their families,” said Sen. Book. “And today, we are one step closer to seeing Marsy’s Law on the ballot. We owe today’s victory to the courageous voices of victims, survivors, and families from across the state who have opened themselves and their stories to this process to help us make things different and better for others.”
To be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot as a constitutional amendment, Marsy’s Law for Florida must first be passed by the full CRC with a minimum of 22 favorable votes. The proposal then must receive 60 percent of the vote to be placed in the Florida Constitution.
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.