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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.

Marsy’s Law for Florida Releases Statewide “Yes on Amendment 6” Ad Campaign Featuring Lauren Book

Appealing to voters from the perspective of a survivor of child sexual abuse, a new “Yes on Amendment 6” ad featuring Lauren Book is now running across Florida. The new ad is part of a major statewide broadcast, cable and digital advertising campaign asking voters to support Amendment 6, which would place clear, enforceable rights for crime victims in the state constitution. 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.

Book, a state senator, is also the founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, a Florida-based nonprofit foundation that educates adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curriculum, awareness campaigns, speaking engagements and legislative advocacy.

“I am proud to support victims’ rights and that’s why I support Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I know how difficult and painful the court process can be,” said Book. “Victims of crime want the opportunity to be present and for their voices to be heard, without revictimization. They want their rights to be the same as the person who harmed them. Most of all, victims of crime want to be treated with dignity and respect. We must pass Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida to provide protection for generations to come.”

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 Book and Lauren’s Kids, 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 and more than 50 individual Florida sheriffs have endorsed Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida. 

Also standing in support for Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law are Governor Rick Scott, former Governor Jeb Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, former Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, State Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, former State Attorney Willie Meggs, former State Attorney Rod Smith, State Attorney Dave Aronberg, State Attorney Ed Brodsky, State Attorney Jack Campbell, State Attorney William Eddins, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, State Attorney Brad King, State Attorney R.J. Larizza, State Attorney Melissa Nelson, State Attorney Dennis Ward and State Attorney Andrew Warren.

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.

 

Statement Regarding Florida Supreme Court Upholding Amendment 6 on the General Election Ballot

Statement by Greg Ungru, Marsy’s Law for Florida State Director:

We appreciate the Florida Supreme Court’s expeditious review of the previous ruling on Amendment 6 and are incredibly pleased their opinion affirms the amendment’s current ballot language is fair and accurate. Their decision to uphold Amendment 6 on the General Election ballot justly provides Florida voters with the opportunity to decide if they believe our state constitution should provide victims of crime with rights and protections equal to those already afforded the accused and convicted.

Supreme Court Has an Opportunity to Do the Right Thing for Victims

The Florida Supreme Court was in South Florida Wednesday hearing arguments for why Amendment 6, also known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, should remain on the November General Election ballot. More than political or legal theatre, this is an issue that is so important and so deeply personal to Floridians who are survivors of crime, including me.

Right now, the scales of justice in Florida are far from balanced. While the accused and convicted have 20 distinct rights afforded to them under the U.S. Constitution, that great document is silent on victims’ rights. Our own state constitution lacks any clear, enforceable rights for victims. How can we as a society look crime victims in the face and tell them they don’t have the same rights and protections as the person who perpetrated the crime against them?

If passed by voters, Amendment 6 would ensure victims have the same rights and protections already provided to the accused and convicted -- no more, no less -- and would place these rights in the Florida Constitution. Victims deserve to have coequal rights and the voters deserve an opportunity to consider this measure.

The victims’ rights movement in Florida is on a precipice. We have the opportunity to join with other states in providing meaningful constitutional protections for victims or to remain among the few who do not. The decision lies with the Florida Supreme Court. My hope is the high court will uphold Amendment 6 and voters will be able to exercise their democratic right to vote for what they believe on this issue in November.

Lauren Book is founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, an internationally-recognized child protection advocate. She is also a best-selling author and a state senator.

Marsy’s Law for Florida Social Media Campaign Highlights Need for Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment

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.

The “30 Years, 30 Reasons” campaign details the new and more clearly defined rights Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would create. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

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 Launches Statewide “Yes on Amendment 6” Ad Buy

Marsy’s Law for Florida today launched a major statewide television and digital advertising campaign asking voters to support Amendment 6, which would place clear, enforceable victims’ rights in the state constitution. Known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, Amendment 6 would provide victims with rights that are equal to, not greater than, the rights already provided to the accused and convicted.

Videos explaining the need for Amendment 6 in Florida began airing this week on television stations and running on digital and social media platforms in markets across the state.

View the television ads in support of Amendment 6: version one, version two and version three.

“Marsy’s Law for Florida has been embraced by Floridians from every walk of life – from state leaders to local elected officials to law enforcement to the victims and families who have experienced the trauma of crime firsthand,” said Greg Ungru, Marsy’s Law for Florida State Director. “Learning that victims have no clear, enforceable rights has been eye-opening for most Floridians. Through our campaign efforts we will be educating, informing and adding to the widespread, bipartisan support that already exists for Amendment 6.”

Amendment 6 proposes that a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights be embedded in the Florida Constitution. If passed by voters by a margin of 60 percent or greater, Amendment 6 would ensure Florida victims have basic, commonsense rights already afforded to the accused and convicted, such as:

• 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
Regarding the matter of whether Amendment 6 will appear on the General Election ballot, Barry Richard, attorney for Marsy’s Law for Florida said, “I am confident the Florida Supreme Court will give the people of Florida the chance to vote on Amendment 6. Voters will see a fair and accurate summary of Amendment 6 when they read the ballot.”
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.