Marsy’s Law for Florida is Helping Crime Victims
In a recent letter to the editor in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, domestic violence survivor Misty Hicks describes how Marsy’s Law for Florida, which provides crime victims with constitutionally mandated rights and protections, helped ensure a just outcome in her case.
Under Marsy’s Law, victims have a number of rights, including the right to timely notification of court proceedings, the right to be present at court proceedings, the right to be heard, and the right to confer with the prosecutor before a plea is offered to the defendant.
Hicks’ abuser, her former boyfriend, violated a protective injunction and was charged criminally. She was not notified of a plea proceeding and was not present or given an opportunity to confer with the prosecutor. Since she was not there and was unable to share information about her former boyfriend’s past history of abuse, he was given a plea deal that was more favorable to him. After Hicks invoked Marsy’s Law, this information came to light and her former boyfriend received a more appropriate sentence.
As Hicks says in her letter, “Marsy’s Law gave me legal recourse and a voice in the process.”
Read the full letter here or below.
Marsy's Law meant for victims
Recently, the Daytona Beach News-Journal wrote about crime victims’ rights, known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, and law enforcement’s use of the law. As a crime victim, I wanted to share my experience with Marsy’s Law so your readers can also understand the good it has brought for crime victims.
Shortly before Marsy’s Law for Florida become effective, I obtained a domestic violence injunction against my former boyfriend who had a history of domestic violence in another state. After violating the injunction, he was charged criminally.
I filed a notice that I wanted to be present at hearings. Everything went fine up to the time it was set for trial. Before trial was to proceed, the defendant entered a plea without my input or notification. The plea did not take my concerns into consideration, including concerns that his prior record of abuse of other women and children had not been considered.
At the time of my case, Marsy’s Law for Florida was only weeks old. The trial judge and prosecuting attorney were both new to their posts. I immediately informed the state and the court, resulting in corrective action and a modified sentence taking into account all factors; a result that was just to everyone.
Marsy’s Law is the only reason the sentence was made right. My former boyfriend was adjudicated guilty, his prior record was made known and he was required to attend the appropriate batterers class and supervision.
Marsy’s Law gave me legal recourse and a voice in the process.
MISTY HICKS, Lakeland