Tallahassee, FL – The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) today voted in favor of placing a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights on the 2018 General Election ballot in November. The measure, sponsored by Commissioner Tim Cerio, passed with a final vote of 34 to 3. This will be the first CRC proposed constitutional amendment placed on the ballot.
Criminals and those accused of crimes have 20 distinct rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Victims, survivors, and their families are provided no rights under the U.S. Constitution. Most states have addressed this disparity by adding victims’ rights and protections into their state constitutions. Florida is one of only 15 states that does not provide clear, enforceable rights for victims of crimes in its constitution.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I applaud the Constitution Revision Commission on their decision to include Marsy’s Law on the ballot this fall. We have taken important steps in Florida to protect those who need it most, and we must continue to make it absolutely clear that our state stands strongly with victims.”
“As a survivor of sexual assault and an advocate for other survivors, I am heartened by today’s Constitution Revision Commission vote in favor of Marsy’s Law for Florida. Florida voters will now have the chance to decide if they, too, stand with victims and their families when they cast their ballots in November. We as survivors came before this body many times to share our stories, and I want to thank them for listening,” said Senator Lauren Book.
“I want to thank my fellow commissioners for voting in favor of this proposal,” said Commissioner Cerio. “For too long, victims in Florida have been made vulnerable by weak constitutional language that does not ensure their rights. With Marsy’s Law on the ballot this fall, the voters will have the chance to give victims the constitutional rights they deserve.”
“I am thankful for the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and their support for crime victims and our families,” said Michael Liles, executive director of the Justice Coalition. “My wife was brutally murdered in our home last year. This was a blow not just to our family but to our entire community. Currently, her killer has more rights in the criminal justice system than myself or even my children. I’m grateful to Commissioner Cerio and all the members of the CRC who worked tirelessly to make sure surviving victims have a voice. We have paid the dearest price for the impact of crime. It is only fair and reasonable that we receive equal consideration.”
“Lawmakers, public officials, sheriffs, victims’ advocates and community leaders have all come together to stand with crime victims and their families, and as the mother of a murdered child, I am deeply grateful for their support as well as the support of the Constitution Revision Commission,” said Pat Tuthill, founder of the Peyton Tuthill Foundation. “Providing clear, enforceable rights in the state constitution will mean a world of a difference to crime victims and will help them heal after a tremendous loss. I encourage all Floridians to vote yes on Amendment 6.”
Marsy’s Law Rights
Marsy’s Law will guarantee that victims receive certain rights in a number of important ways including:
● informing victims and their families about their rights and the services available to them,
● giving them the right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in a criminal case,
● protecting their safety by notifying them in a timely manner regarding changes to the offender’s custodial status,
● allowing victims and their families to exercise their right to be present – and heard – at court proceedings,
● providing input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized; and
● establishing the right to restitution from the convicted.
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.