Press Room

For all press related questions, please contact Jennifer at marsyslawfl@coremessage.com or 850-222-3767

Crime Victims Highlight the Need for Amendment 6 in New Videos Released by Marsy’s Law for Florida

Marsy’s Law for Florida today launched the second set of videos in their social media campaign in support of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, which would embed a new set of crime victims’ rights in the state constitution if passed by 60 percent of voters.

 

Sharing their personal experiences with the criminal justice system, the crime victims and survivors appearing in the new videos illustrate the ways Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida strengthens protections for crime victims and their families while preserving due process for those accused or convicted of a crime.

 

Featured in the videos are:

 

 

Florida is one of only 15 states that does not have clear, enforceable rights for victims in its state constitution. Some of the constitutional-level rights and protections Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would provide include:

 

  • The right to have standing in court
  • The right to present at all proceedings involving the case
  • The right to reasonable and timely notice of proceedings
  • The right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement or pardon
  • The right to timely notice of any release, escape or death of the accused, if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay
  • The right to timely information about the outcome of the case

 

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com or engage with the campaign socially on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #YesOn6.

Sheriff Mike Williams supports Amendment 6, Marsy’s Law

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams shares his support for Marsy's Law/Amendment 6 in an opinion-editorial for the Florida Times-Union. Click here to read his column online, or scroll down: 

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and unfortunately, chances are high that you know someone who has been affected in some way by this crime. It is a national issue that those of us in law enforcement deal with far too frequently.

Whether or not it’s reported, domestic violence is still a crime. It takes courage for a victim to pick up the phone and call for help and when they do, they should have their rights protected and explained to them in the same way we protect the rights of the accused.

Right now, law enforcement does not have that ability because the Florida Constitution does not clearly define what those rights are. That’s simply not right and that’s why I’m supporting Amendment 6.

Amendment 6, commonly known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, will give victims of all crimes the constitutional protections they deserve. Currently, our state constitution gives a very vague definition of what rights victims have when a crime has been committed. Amendment 6 will clearly define those rights to ensure basic, commonsense protections for crime victims. These rights do not surpass those of the accused, but rather puts the victim and the accused on equal footing.

The men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office work with crime victims every day. To hear the stories of how some have been silenced in criminal proceedings is heart-breaking. One local man’s wife was brutally murdered in their home and not once has he been notified of a hearing for the man arrested for murdering her.

Others who have asked to be heard at a trial have either been denied that opportunity or simply not been informed as to the status of the case. There are also situations where a victim has been approached by their attacker after authorities failed to notify them their attacker had been released from jail. These are not hypothetical situations, these are real victims of real crimes who deserve more than to just fall through the cracks.

I took an oath to protect and defend our community and our constitution. By supporting Amendment 6, I believe I can do both to the best of my ability. Being a victim is hard enough without the fear and uncertainty that goes along with the ambiguity of our current judicial system. Together, we can change that and give victims their voices back. Join me and vote yes on Amendment 6.

Mike Williams is sheriff of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Actor Kelsey Grammer Advocates for Amendment 6 in New Marsy’s Law for Florida Statewide Ad Campaign

Five-time Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer shares the heartbreak his family faced after his father and sister were murdered in a new “Yes on Amendment 6” ad campaign running across Florida. Part of a major statewide broadcast, cable and digital advertising campaign, the new ad asks voters to support Amendment 6, which would place clear, enforceable rights for crime victims in the state constitution without removing any of the protections already afforded to the defendant. The campaign has been launched by Marsy’s Law for Florida, a group that has been advocating for rights for crime victims that are equal to those already provided to the accused and convicted.

 

Grammer, who attended high school in Fort Lauderdale and is best-known for his starring role in the hit television sitcom, Frasier, witnessed first-hand the lack of rights for crime victims and their surviving family members following the murder of his father, Frank Grammer, and the rape and murder of his sister, Karen Grammer, seven years after his father’s tragic death. Grammer’s family was not notified when his father’s killer was released from prison, which is why Grammer has made it his personal mission to ensure other crime victims are treated with the fairness, dignity and respect they deserve. Grammer was not paid for his participation in the campaign.

 

“Kelsey Grammer’s story is far too familiar for many Floridians. Without clear, enforceable protections in the state constitution, Florida crime victims and their family members often find their rights considered sub-par to those of the accused, which is unfair and unjust,” said Greg Ungru, state director of Marsy’s Law for Florida. “A person accused or convicted of a crime should always be entitled to his or her constitutional rights, but crime victims deserve the same consideration. Amendment 6 balances the scales of justice while preserving due process, and we are incredibly grateful for Kelsey Grammer’s steadfast support and dedication to this cause. We hope all Floridians will stand up for crime victims and vote yes on Amendment 6.”

 

If passed by voters by a margin of 60 percent or greater in November, Amendment 6 will place a new, specific set of distinct rights for crime victims in the Florida Constitution. Some of these basic, commonsense rights include:

 

  • The right to have standing in court
  • The right to present at all proceedings involving the case
  • The right to reasonable and timely notice of proceedings
  • The right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement or pardon
  • The right to timely notice of any release, escape or death of the accused, if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay
  • The right to timely information about the outcome of the case

Together with Kelsey Grammer, the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, Justice Coalition, Peyton Tuthill Foundation, MADD, Victim Services Center of Central Florida, Indian River Victims’ Rights Coalition, Parents of Murdered Children – Tri-County Chapter, Safe Haven of Northeast Florida, Stop Our Children's Pain, ChildHelp CEO & Chairman Sara O’Meara, Florida Smart Justice Alliance, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Lauren’s Kids and more than 60 individual Florida sheriffs have endorsed Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, as well as local and state elected officials from both parties.

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

 

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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.

 

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings Advocates for Amendment 6

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission voted 34-3 to place Amendment 6 on the ballot for the election. The 37-member commission, which meets every 20 years to propose changes to the Florida Constitution is unique among the states. Florida is the only state with a commission empowered to refer constitutional amendments to the ballot.

The constitutional amendment regarding the rights of crime victims, known as Marsy’s Law, would provide crime victims, their families and their lawful representatives with specific rights, including a right to due process and to be treated with fairness and respect; a right to be free from intimidation, harassment and abuse; a right to have the victim’s welfare considered when setting bail; and a right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, among others.

Amendment 6 includes two additional provisions, one to increase the mandatory retirement age for judges and one related to judicial interpretation. I believe the victims’ rights component is absolutely crucial to our criminal-justice system and, therefore, I support Amendment 6.

The U.S. criminal-justice system is set up to give numerous rights to individuals accused and convicted of crimes, providing an excellent legal standard to ensure all defendants are treated fairly. Yet, the U.S. Constitution and 15 state constitutions do not extend equal rights to victims of the crime, leaving them powerless. I stand with nearly 60 Florida sheriffs in saying it’s time for change. It’s time for Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida.

After a crime occurs, many people question what will happen to the suspect, but very few focus on what will happen to the crime victims and their families. I’ve lost track of the number of times I have read criminals their rights; however, I cannot say the same for crime victims. Florida is one of only 15 states without clear, enforceable protections for crime victims in our state constitution and that should change.

As the sheriff for Orange County, I took an oath to protect and serve our community to the best of my ability. Despite my vigilant efforts to reduce crime rates and ensure citizens are protected, many crime victims still live in fear and are confused about their rights. My deputies and I work tirelessly to help them recover and heal, but without clear, enforceable constitutional laws and protections in place, it can be difficult to find solutions.In November, Florida voters can speak up for the crime victims who are voiceless by voting yes on Amendment 6. If passed by 60 percent of voters, Amendment 6 will provide the victims similar rights and protections that are afforded to the accused and convicted. I believe Marsy’s Law should have been placed in our constitution a long time ago, and I look forward to voting yes on 6.

Let’s make history, and let victims and their families know Florida stands with them in ensuring equal justice under the law.

Jerry L. Demings is Orange County sheriff and mayor-elect.

Read more: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-op-amendment-6-vote-yes-sheriff-jerry-demings-20181001-story.html

Marsy’s Law for Florida Launches Video Campaign Featuring Victims and Advocates

Marsy’s Law for Florida today launched a new social media video campaign in support of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, which would embed a new set of crime victims’ rights in the state constitution if passed by 60 percent of voters. The series of videos feature crime victims, survivors and advocates sharing their personal stories and reasons for supporting Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida.

 

The crime victims and survivors appearing in the video series not only share their deeply personal and poignant stories of how crime has forever altered their lives, but also describe ways in which they feel the criminal justice system has ignored them, left them without a voice and revictimized them.

 

In the first set of videos released, featured are:

 

“Sadly, the stories featured in our social media campaign are just a few examples of the types of scenarios playing out across Florida each day. Victims who were left in the dark about their case, victims who were forced to become their own legal advocate, victims whose voices were never heard and victims who were not informed their perpetrator was released from prison therefore compromising their safety,” said Greg Ungru, Marsy’s Law for Florida State Director. “The rights provided for under Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would have changed each of these victims’ experiences in the criminal justice system. It time to correct these injustices by voting YES to the coequal rights provided by Amendment 6.”

 

Florida is one of only 15 states that does not have clear, enforceable rights for victims in its state constitution. Some of the constitutional-level rights and protections Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would provide include:

 

  • The right to have standing in court
  • The right to present at all proceedings involving the case
  • The right to reasonable and timely notice of proceedings
  • The right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement or pardon
  • The right to timely notice of any release, escape or death of the accused, if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay
  • The right to timely information about the outcome of the case

 

The new social media campaign coincides with a substantial statewide broadcast, cable and digital advertising campaign encouraging Floridians to vote in favor of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida.

 

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

Marsy’s Law for Florida Announces Amendment 6 Campaign State Chairmen

Marsy’s Law for Florida today announced Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, Democrat State Senator Lauren Book, Republican State Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, and Former Democratic State Party Chair, State Senator, and State Attorney Rod Smith will serve as state chairmen of the campaign to pass Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida.

If passed by Florida voters, Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would provide crime victims with rights and protections equivalent to those already afforded the accused and convicted. It will equalize victims in the court system without taking any rights or protections away from defendants.

“Amendment 6 will strengthen the rights and protections provided to victims of crime in Florida,” said Attorney General Bondi. “With the passage of Amendment 6, crime victims will have a list of specific rights spelled out in Florida’s Constitution which will further help and support them every step of the way in the criminal justice process.”

“The scales of justice are not balanced in Florida. I support Amendment 6 because I support equal rights for victims of crime in our state’s constitution,” said Senator Book. “I understand how helpless victims and survivors can feel when it seems the court system does not have your best interests in mind. Amendment 6 will give crime victims a voice and ensure the rights of generations to come.”

“There is a great need for constitutional protection for those who have suffered pain and trauma after a crime has been perpetrated against them,” said Senator Simpson. “I’m proud to support Amendment 6 and will work to ensure victims are guaranteed rights equal to those who are accused of victimizing them.”

“In my time in the criminal justice system, there have been victims who wanted to be informed of the proceedings of their case and were simply not notified,” said former State Attorney Smith. “Crime victims should have the right to be notified, informed, and heard. Amendment 6 will enumerate these essential rights in our state Constitution.”

Versions of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law have already been passed in six states: California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Montana. In addition to Florida, Marsy’s Law will appear on the ballot this November in Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Oklahoma, and efforts to expand victims’ rights are underway in other states, including Wisconsin, Idaho and Maine.

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

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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.

 

Marsy’s Law for Florida Celebrates National Night Out in Central Florida

WHAT:           Marsy’s Law for Florida, the organization advocating for crime victims’ rights through Amendment 6, will join 11 communities across Central Florida on Tuesday, October 2, in celebrating National Night Out, a movement which aims to strengthen relationships between neighborhoods and law enforcement by coming together for a fun-filled night featuring block parties, entertainment, exhibitors, safety demonstrations, food and more. Victims’ rights advocates will be available to speak with members of the media about how Amendment 6 strengthens protections for crime victims without weakening or altering any of the rights currently afforded to those accused or convicted of a crime. Events with a Marsy’s Law for Florida presence include those in Longwood, Clermont, Lake Mary, Sanford, Caselberry, MetroWest, Mount Dora, Hunter’s Creek, Orlo Vista and South Apopka.

 

WHEN:           Tuesday, October 2

Times vary by event

 

WHERE:         National Night Out – Longwood

                        5:30-8:30 p.m.

                        Candyland Park, 599 Longdale Ave., Longwood, FL 32750

                        Hosted by Longwood Leisure Services

 

                        National Night Out – Clermont

                        5-8 p.m.

                        Clermont Waterfront Park, 330 3rd St., Clermont, FL 34711

                        Hosted by 4 Corners Clermont Democratic Club

 

                        National Night Out – Lake Mary

                        5:30-8:30 p.m.

                        Lake Mary City Hall, 100 N Country Club Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32746

                        Hosted by the Lake Mary Police Department

 

                        National Night Out – Sanford

                        5-8 p.m.

                        Ft. Mellon Park, 600 E 1st St., Sanford, FL 32771

                        Hosted by the Sanford Police Department

 

                        National Night Out – Caselberry

                        6-9 p.m.

                        Lake Concord Park, 95 Triplet Lake Dr., Casselberry, FL 32707

                        Hosted by the Caselberry Police Department

 

                        National Night Out – MetroWest

                        5:30-8:30 p.m.

                        Veranda Park, 2121 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando, FL 32835

                        Hosted by MetroWest Public Safety

 

                        National Night Out – Mount Dora

                        5:30-8:30 p.m.

                        Target, 17450 US-441, Mount Dora, FL 32757

                        Hosted by the Mount Dora Police Department

 

                        National Night Out – Hunter’s Creek

                        6-9 p.m.

                        Osprey Park, 5100 Town Center Blvd., Orlando, FL 32837

                        Hosted by the Hunter’s Creek Community Association

 

                        National Night Out – Orlo Vista

                        5-7 p.m.

                        Orlo Vista Park, 1 N Powers Dr., Orlando, FL 32835

                        Hosted by Orlo Park Safe Neighborhoods

 

                        National Night Out – South Apopka

                        6-8 p.m.

                        P&W Market, 1209 Clarcona Rd., Apopka, FL 32703

                        Hosted by South Apopka Safe Neighborhood

 

                        National Night Out – Avalon Park

                        6-8 p.m.

                        Avalon Town Park, 3651 Avalon Park Blvd, Orlando, FL 32828

                       

                                   

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

 

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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.

 

 

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly supports Amendment 6: Victims need rights, too

Most people are familiar with Miranda Rights — the rights police read to those placed under arrest. And, most people are aware that there are federal and state laws designed to protect the accused and those convicted so criminals receive fair treatment. What most people don't know is there are no U.S. Constitutional protections for victims.

Florida doesn't have much in its laws to protect victims, either. That's just not right. For justice to be truly served, it must be equal. Defendants are absolutely entitled to all their rights and protections. But, victims should have as many rights and protections as the accused and convicted too.

In November, we can correct this imbalance in the criminal justice system by voting in favor of Amendment 6, also known as Marsy's Law for Florida.

Marsy's Law doesn't take anything away from defendants. It simply gives basic, common-sense rights to victims and their families and protects those rights in the Florida Constitution. These rights include the right to have standing in court; the right to protect records that could be used to locate and harass the victim and their family; the right to be present at all proceedings involving the case; the right to be heard at court proceedings; the right to receive timely notice of the outcome of the case; and, the right to restitution.

By putting these victim's rights in the state Constitution, there will be no question on what victims of crime are entitled to. Thirty-two states already have Marsy's law in their state constitutions.

Law enforcement leaders and state attorneys across Florida agree: We need Marsy's Law for Florida. I stand with nearly two-thirds of Florida's sheriffs in support of Amendment 6.

In my more than 40 years of working in public safety, I have had the honor of serving and protecting my community. I was driven to this profession by a desire to keep people safe and help them when they have been harmed. As law enforcement officers, we are often the first on the scene of a crime and the first people victims encounter. We do all we can to help and support them during this critical time in their life, but once the case is in the courts, they have very few legal rights to protect them.

I know this first hand. Many years ago I was shot on duty and became a "victim" of a serious crime. I had to go through depositions and a trial where it seemed like the defendant had more rights than I did as the victim.

I hope you will join me in November and vote "yes" on Amendment 6 and let's protect victims' rights together!

For more information, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

Rick Staly is the sheriff of Flagler County.

Read more in the Palm Coast Observer here.

Marsy’s Law for Florida Releases New Statewide “Yes on Amendment 6” Ad

Marsy’s Law for Florida today released a new statewide ad in support of equal rights for crime victims. It is part of a substantial statewide broadcast, cable and digital advertising campaign encouraging Floridians to vote in favor of Amendment 6, which would place clear, enforceable rights for crime victims in the state constitution.

“Our newest ad focuses on the rights the accused and convicted have versus the rights provided to the victim. We are all familiar with the Miranda Rights read to someone when they are arrested. Most Floridians are shocked to find out crime victims in our state aren’t automatically provided similar rights and protections,” said Greg Ungru, Marsy’s Law for Florida State Director. “A vote for Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would correct this injustice and would ensure all crime victims in Florida have the same rights and protections as the accused and convicted – nothing more and nothing less.”

There are 20 distinct rights afforded to the accused and convicted, which are enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. The Florida Constitution also provides rights and protections for the accused and convicted. While the U.S. Constitution is silent on victims’ rights, the Florida Constitution currently includes a single sentence related to victims’ rights: “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.”

That 30-year-old language is vague and can be open to interpretation. Additionally, these minimal rights are not being applied and enforced consistently. Placing a new set of specific crime victims’ rights in the state’s most powerful legal document will ensure victims are uniformly and routinely provided these rights and protections across the state.

If passed by 60 percent of the voters in November, Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would provide crime victims with the following rights:

  • To be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, sensitivity and fairness.
  • To have standing in court.
  • To privacy.
  • To have information or records protected that could be used to locate or harass the victim or which could disclose confidential or privileged information about the victim.
  • To proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  • To timely disposition of the case free from unreasonable delay.
  • To be present at all proceedings involving the case.
  • To reasonable protection from the accused throughout the justice process.
  • To reasonable and timely notice of proceedings.
  • To confer with the attorney for the government.
  • To be informed by and provide input to the attorney for the government about any case disposition agreement including a plea agreement, deferred prosecution agreement or diversion agreement before a decision is made concerning such agreement.
  • To be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement or pardon.
  • To have the authority with jurisdiction over the case provided with information pertaining to the economic, physical and psychological effect of the crime or juvenile act upon the victim and have the information considered by the authority with jurisdiction.
  • To timely notice of any release, escape or death of the accused, if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death.
  • To full restitution and to be provided with assistance collecting restitution.
  • To have any monies or property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution be first applied to the restitution owed to the victim before paying any amounts owed to the government.
  • To compensation as provided by the law.
  • To timely information about the outcome of the case.
  • To timely notice about all rights in this section, or as provided by law, including the enforcement of these rights.

For more information on Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, visit www.marsyslawforfl.com.

Local Woman Pushes for Passage of Victims' Rights Amendment

Fox 4 Naples/Fort Myers recently interviewed Linda Beni, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, about her support for Marsy's Law/Amendment 6. Click here to watch the story.