Moving quickly as the fall elections approach, a Leon County circuit judge will hear arguments Aug. 24 about a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to provide additional protections for crime victims.
Judge Karen Gievers issued an order Wednesday scheduling the hearing in the lawsuit filed by Southwest Florida criminal-defense lawyer Lee Hollander. The lawsuit seeks to block the proposed constitutional amendment from going on the November ballot, with Hollander arguing that the wording of the proposal would mislead voters.
The Florida Constitution Revision this year approved putting the proposal, designated as Amendment 6, on the ballot. Supporters of the proposal, which has become commonly known as “Marsy’s Law,” argue it would establish a series of rights for crime victims, including the right to be notified of major developments in criminal cases and the right to be heard in the legal proceedings.
The amendment also would increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. And it would provide that judges should not necessarily defer to the interpretation of laws and rules by governmental agencies in legal proceedings.
But Hollander’s lawsuit contends the ballot summary, which is what voters see when the go to the polls, is misleading because “it fails to inform voters that it will result in the loss of current constitutional rights of criminal defendants, purports to ‘create’ constitutional rights for victims of crime even though rights for crime victims already exist in the Constitution (and) fails to inform voters that it curtails time allowed for criminal appeals.”