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Florida Smart Justice Alliance endorses Marsy’s Law

The Florida Smart Justice Alliance on Tuesday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a crime victims’ bill of rights, according to a press release.

The proposal (P6001), also known as “Marsy’s Law for Florida,” is one of 12 amendments that will be considered by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission when it reconvenes next Monday in Tallahassee.

“Marsy’s Law provides common sense protections for crime victims, ensuring they have the right to be heard, the right to be present, and the right to be informed,” said Barney Bishop, CEO of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance.

“… All that victims are asking is to be treated with the same dignity and respect afforded to those accused of the crimes that have harmed them,” he added. “By placing Marsy’s Law on the 2018 ballot, voters will have the opportunity to decide if victims should be granted those rights.”

The commission must approve the idea with 22 votes, then it must receive at least 60 percent approval on the November statewide ballot to be added to the state constitution.

From the press release: “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 Corp., 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.

“Six other states have enacted Marsy’s Law, including California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Montana. Polling conducted in October showed there is strong interest among Florida voters to enact Marsy’s Law in the Sunshine State.

“Eighty-seven percent of likely Florida voters believe victims should have, at the very least, the same protections in the state constitution as those given to those accused of committing crimes.

“When read specific ballot language and informed of the background behind Marsy’s Law, 85 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for a constitutional amendment that guarantees victims’ rights in the Florida Constitution.”

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