Voters are overwhelmingly in favor of a Constitution Revision Commission proposal that would add victims’ rights to the Florida Constitution.
The proposal, known as “Marsy’s Law,” establishes a Victim Bill of Rights which would require crime victims to be told about their rights as well as services available to them and entitles them to updates on criminal proceedings, to be informed of meetings between the accused and state attorneys before plea deals are handed out, and gives them the option to attend and speak during court proceedings.
The proposal is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. All but 15 states, including Florida, enumerate victims’ rights in their constitutions.
A Clearview Research poll, released Thursday, found more than three-quarters of voters would vote for such an amendment if it was on the 2018 ballot.
Marsy’s Law is contained in CRC Proposal 96, sponsored by Commissioner Timothy Cerio. The proposal scored similarly high marks in past polls Florida voters and on Tuesday a pair of state attorneys offered their endorsement.
“The so-called Marsy’s Law proposal is a near lock to pass as it sits at 78 percent support and voters seem to clearly want the rights of crime victims to be expanded,” Clearview Research President Steve Vancore said. “In fact, both ‘rights’ proposals lead the pack in term of support, with the nursing home residents’ rights drawing 86 percent and expanded victims’ rights pulling 78 percent.”
Of those who were in favor, 52 percent said they would definitely vote in favor of Marsy’s Law, while 26 percent said they would likely vote for the amendment.
Only 13 percent of those polled said they were against the proposal, including 7 percent put themselves down as definitely voting no, while 9 percent said they were unsure how they would vote.
The Clearview Research poll contacted 750 likely Florida voters between March 1 and March 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.58 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
The firm has also released polls this week measuring the Rick Scott v. Bill Nelson U.S. Senate race and two others, each measuring voter sentiment on three CRC proposals.
The poll estimates 41 percent of voters in November will be registered Republicans and 39 percent will be Democrats.
March 17, 2018 at 3:07 pm
I believe in the Marsy’s Law. Victims have the right to know what deals are made between the prosecutor and defendant and have the right to voice their opinion
March 27, 2018 at 5:45 pm
The Problem with Marsy’s Law (The Constitutional Revision Commission Proposal to Expand the Rights of Crime “Victims”)
First and foremost, I wholeheartedly support crime victim’s rights to be treated fairly in the Criminal Justice System. I represent children in civil litigation who seek redress for having been sexually abused by criminals. In my past practice, I have also defended the rights of innocent defendants who were falsely accused by those who use the Criminal Justice System as their weapon of choice to exact vengeance. Such false accusers become mistakenly identified as “victims” who are in reality the perpetrators of criminal misconduct as follows:
1. Filing false police reports
2. Using the full force of the Criminal Justice System as a weapon of chice against lovers who cheated on (alleged victims*) but refused to marry them.
This proposal needs some serious tweaking because, as it currently reads, it gives too much power to accusers before a jury has determined the guilt of the accused for the allegations levied by the accuser, which is what legally makes an accuser a bona-fide victim in accordance with the law. One such provision restrict an accused rights to adequately confront an accuser via the use of Discovery Depositions, which is often used to test the veracity of an accuser and thereafter impeach their credibility during trial.
Hence, with Marsy’s Law on the books, before an accused (Defendant) has been found guilty by any Jury or any Judge, the Florida Constitution will allow an accuser (Claimant) to be deemed to be a “victim” before a single witness is called to testify or any evidence is introduced at trial to prove the allegations.
Please let me be the very first to predict what the ultimate, unfortunate and counter reproductive results will be for many cases if this law passes. Namely, far too many of those who are in fact guilty of crimes like Assaults, Batteries including Sexual Batteries and the like, will go free specifically because this bill conflicts with the well established constitutional rights of the Criminally Accused. Their cases will be lost at trial but won on appeal. Such rights include the Presumption of Innocence, adequately and meaningfully Confronting Accusers (who will be prematurely identified as “Victims” by this new law).
I made a presentation at the CRC meeting that was in Jacksonville just last month about this. It was within the last 30 minutes of that meeting. The video may still be on the server. One amendment that should be added to this proposal is the criminalization of making false allegations of crime against innocent people in general. I’m specifically referring to those who are not “victims” but criminals making themselves out to be supposed “victims”!
The next day, I sent an email to the chief sponsor of this proposal explaining the very things I have shared in this post with a request that we talk about an amendment or two that would make this proposal much better and less problematic. Unfortunately, I was ignored and completely disrespected with absolutely no response whatsoever.
To my knowledg, the only law in Florida that makes it criminal to falsely accuse one of Rape relates to false allegations against police, corrections/probation officers and/or certain governmental officials, but not regular citizens.
Whether this proposal becomes law or not, some bold legislator needs to introduce legislation that criminalizes making any false allegations of crime, PERIOD!
I have seen too many people being falsely accused, by lying lovers who wanted revenge, to support this proposal IN ITS CURRENT STATE. As a 33 year trial attorney with experience in Criminal Justice, unlike the prime sponsor of this proposal in Florida who, to my knowledge has absolutely no experience in the Criminal Justice Arena, I earnestly implore everyone to very carefully ponder what this proposed amendment , IN IT’S CURRENT STATE, is about to do to everyone’s well established Constitutional Due Process Rights! If you think there are far too many innocent people being released from prison and even death row for crimes they did not commit, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!”
*With the legalization of Same Sex Marriage and the open acceptance of Same Sex dating, false accusations of jilted lovers will increase, but will involve false victims of the exact same gender.
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