Press Room

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

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.

Sheriff supports Amendment 6

We are all familiar with federal and state laws that provide those accused and convicted of a crime with clear protections to ensure due process. However, many are surprised to learn crime victims don’t have any clear, enforceable rights within the state constitution. This means that, legally, crime victims have less rights than criminals. Individuals do not ask to become crime victims, and as law enforcement, we want to do everything we can to protect them from the physical, psychological and economic effects they suffer as a result. However, our hands are often tied. We took an oath to enforce the law, and the law does not offer enforceable rights for crime victims.


As a sheriff, I’ve witnessed firsthand how crime can destroy people’s lives and the community. I firmly believe we need constitutional provisions that protect the rights of victims as fiercely as the rights of the accused — nothing more, and nothing less. Marsy’s Law for Florida will appear on the ballot this November as Amendment 6. If passed by 60 percent of voters, crime victims will be entitled to the same rights as those accused and convicted of a crime.


I joined dozens of my fellow Florida sheriffs in endorsing Amendment 6 because I believe Marsy’s Law will not only benefit our state, but also improve the way we deal with crime and its victims. Marsy’s Law will finally give crime victims the rights they deserve while ensuring the rights for those accused of a crime remain unchanged.


Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson Jr.,
Walton County

Read more in the Walton Sun.

Sheriff Michael Chitwood: Amendment 6 brings balance to the justice system

When you enter law enforcement, you take an oath to support and maintain the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the United States and the laws of your state. While that entails a great many things, it means that I and my deputies must ensure that everyone who is accused or convicted of a crime is afforded the 20 distinct rights in the U.S. Constitution to which they are entitled. These are important protections that ensure fairness and impartiality in the pursuit of justice.

However, I also swore to serve and protect all the residents of my county, including those who were victimized. Right now, the rights and protections we can offer Floridians who become victims are, unfortunately, limited.

Currently, there are no clear, enforceable rights and protections for victims outlined in either the U.S. or Florida constitutions. Imagine telling the father of a child killed in a drunk-driving accident that he will have less standing in court than the person accused of driving under the influence and causing the accident? Imagine a rape victim discovering personal information about her and her family is available to the accused rapist, leaving her and her family members vulnerable to harassment or worse?

Sadly, these are scenarios that play out every day in communities across our state. Floridians have the opportunity to change this.

In November, Florida voters can decide if there should be distinct rights and protections for victims in our state constitution through a proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law for Florida (Amendment 6 on your ballot).

Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida would provide crime victims with rights that are equal to — not more than — the rights already provided to the accused and convicted. Victims just want access to the same kinds of information and opportunities provided to the defendants.

Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law would provide some basic, commonsense rights, such as the right to be notified about any court proceedings related to their case, the right to speak at plea and sentencing hearings, the right to privacy, and the right to know if their perpetrator is about to be released from prison.

These are people who were thrown into an often scary, confusing and traumatizing criminal-justice system through no fault of their own. Once they get there, they just want to be heard and to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

As a second-generation law-enforcement officer, who has dedicated the past 30 years of my life to protecting the innocent and pursuing the guilty, I can tell you we have a system that needs more balance. Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida will bring that balance to our court system and improve the overall delivery of justice for everyone.

I strongly support and endorse Marsy’s Law for Florida, and I encourage Volusia residents to do the same by casting a “yes” vote for Amendment 6 this fall.

— Michael J. Chitwood is the Volusia County sheriff.

Read more in the West Volusia Beacon.

Sadie Darnell: Crime victims need constitutional protections

Recently, I joined more than three dozen Florida sheriffs in endorsing Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, a proposal that would add a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights to the Florida Constitution. If passed by 60 percent of voters this November, Amendment 6 will provide victims with rights and protections that are equal to, not greater than, the rights and protections already provided the accused and convicted.

As law enforcement officers, we are usually the first ones at the scene of a crime. We are among the first people victims encounter. We have seen the emotional and physical trauma they have endured. We work tirelessly to help them recover and heal, but without clear constitutional protections in place, victims’ rights are sometimes compromised, despite our best efforts.

Victims deserve to be notified when the defendant is released from prison. They deserve to be informed of hearings and provided a voice during these events. They deserve to be compensated for their loss. Most importantly, victims deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion. These rights seem so straightforward and ingrained, yet none of the protections listed above are stated in the Florida Constitution in an enforceable manner.

In 2017, 1,645 people were victims of violent crime in Alachua County. Most likely, someone you know is on that list, whether it’s family, friends, colleagues or neighbors. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office strives to treat each crime victim the way we’d hope a loved one would be treated in a similar situation, but sometimes our hands are tied. As law officers, we must protect and serve our state while strictly adhering to constitutional provisions. Unlike those accused of a crime, victims do not have specific rights outlined in the constitution. In the eyes of the law, the criminal’s rights are stronger than the victim’s.

A grieving father is not constitutionally mandated to be notified of any hearings in the trial against his child’s murderer. A sexual assault victim might not be permitted to tell the court about the assault’s impact on his/her life. An attempted murderer could be released on parole without any regard to the victim’s safety. Crime victims and their families already feel powerless about their situation. Not providing them with a voice is demeaning and demoralizing.

I took an oath that I will support, protect and defend our constitution. That means I am committed to upholding the rights of the accused under the Sixth Amendment. I cannot and will not support any measure that disputes their rights. But, I firmly believe protecting the rights of the accused while also protecting the rights of crime victims are not mutually exclusive. Marsy’s Law is an excellent policy proposal to meet the needs of all parties in the case.

I am proud to join my colleagues across the state, as well as the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association, in lending my support to Marsy’s Law. I encourage voters to voice their support for victims’ rights on the ballot this fall.

Sadie Darnell is Alachua County sheriff.

Read more in the Gainesville Sun.

Florida Clerks of Court Endorse Amendment 6/ Marsy’s Law for Florida

Clerks of the Court from 17 Florida counties have announced their endorsement of Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, which would place equal rights and protections for victims in the state constitution if supported by voters. Endorsing Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida are:

  • Baker County Clerk of Courts Stacie Harvey
  • Bradford County Clerk of Courts Ray Norman
  • Citrus County Clerk of Courts Angela Vick
  • Clay County Clerk of Courts Tara Green
  • Franklin County Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson
  • Hendry County Clerk of Courts Barbara Butler
  • Hernando County Clerk of Courts Don Barbee
  • Indian River County Clerk of Courts Jeff Smith
  • Lee County Clerk of Courts Linda Doggett
  • Manatee County Clerk of Courts Angelina Colonneso
  • Martin County Clerk of Courts Carolyn Timmann
  • Okeechobee County Clerk of Courts Sharon Robertson
  • Pasco County Clerk of Courts Paula O’Neil
  • Pinellas County Clerk of Courts Ken Burke
  • Putnam County Clerk of Courts Tim Smith
  • Polk County Clerk of Courts Stacy Butterfield
  • Wakulla County Clerk of Courts Brent Thurmond

 

“As Clerk of the Circuit Court, my office interacts with victims, survivors, and their families on a daily basis,” said Martin County Clerk of the Court Carolyn Timmann. “Rights of crime victims belong in the Florida Constitution and Amendment 6 allows victims of crime to ‘opt-in’ to receive notification of all legal proceedings, and the rights of privacy, to be heard, and to be protected from harassment. Marsy’s Law will help give victims the dignity and respect they deserve. I encourage everyone to vote yes on Amendment 6 – Marsy’s Law.”

In addition to the Clerks of Court, 10 state attorneys have announced their support for Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, as well as members of the state’s law enforcement community. Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida has been endorsed by more than half of the state’s sheriffs, Florida Police Chiefs Association and Florida Sheriffs Association.

Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida will be on the November 2018 General Election ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment. If passed by a margin of 60 percent or more of Florida voters, Amendment 6 would place a Crime Victims Bill of Rights in the state constitution. Including a Crime Victims Bill of Rights in the state constitution would ensure crime victims have clear, enforceable rights that are equal to, not greater than, the rights of the accused and convicted.

The measure was approved and placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in April.

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

 

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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.

Law Enforcement Leadership Continue to Endorse Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida

Law enforcement leadership from across the state continue to endorse Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida, which would place equal rights and protections for victims in the state constitution if supported by voters. Endorsing Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida are:

  • Retired Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti
  • Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher
  • Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan
  • Glades County Sheriff David Hardin
  • Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar
  • Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams
  • Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell
  • Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods
  • Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper
  • Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen
  • Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson
  • Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
  • Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach
  • Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan J. Perez

Previously endorsed by sheriffs from 24 counties, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association, Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida now has the support of more than half of the state’s sheriffs.  

A proposed constitutional amendment, Amendment 6/Marsy’s Law for Florida will be on the November 2018 General Election ballot. If passed by a margin of 60 percent or more of Florida voters, Amendment 6 would place a Crime Victims Bill of Rights in the state constitution. Enshrining a Crime Victims Bill of Rights in the state constitution would ensure crime victims have clear, enforceable rights that are equal to, not greater than, the rights of the accused and convicted.

Amendment 6/Marsy’s for Florida was approved and placed on the ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in April.

The measure has also received the support of Governor Rick Scott, former Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis, State Senator Lauren Book, State Senator Darryl Rouson, Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran, former Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Wansley Walters, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Retired Florida Judge Frank Shepherd, Indian River County Tax Collector Carole Jean Jordan, State Attorney Andrew Warren (13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County) State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle (11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County) State Attorney R.J. Larizza (7th Judicial Circuit, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia Counties), State Attorney Brad King (5th Judicial Circuit, Marion, Lake, Citrus, Sumter, Hernando Counties), State Attorney Dave Aronberg (15th Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County), and former State Attorneys Rod Smith of Gainesville and Willie Meggs of Tallahassee.

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.