Andrew Warren spotlights victims’ rights in national Marsy’s Law video campaign

andrew warren
Andrew Warren talks victims' rights for National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren is lending his name to an effort to strengthen rights for crime victims and their families.

In a video sponsored by the Marsy’s Law For All nonprofit advocacy group for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Warren speaks in “Purple Light,” a one-minute video calling for continued attention to the issue as Americans across the nation, including victims, remain largely relegated to their homes amid COVID-19 social distancing efforts.

“Millions of Americans now live in states with Marcy’s Law, providing rights to victims of crime and it is working,” Warren says in the video.

The video highlights messages from crime victims and advocates recorded from their homes on cellphones.

“We weren’t about to let these difficult circumstances prevent the voices of crime victims from being heard, especially during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” said Marsy’s Law For All spokesman Jon Fleischman. “We had to be creative and overcome the obvious logistical obstacles in order to remind people that the mission of Marsy’s Law is too important for us to slow down, even during a pandemic.”

Marsy’s Law has been passed in 11 states since 2008. The law aims to strengthen victims’ rights by requiring them to be notified of all court proceedings involving the accused perpetrator and giving them the option to participate in those proceedings, or be shielded from them, depending on the victim or family members’ preference.

The law is on the books in Florida, California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

It’s named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas who was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983 at the age of 21. Following her murderer’s arrest, Marsy’s mother and brother, Marcella Leach and Henry Nicholas, were confronted in a grocery by the accused, Kerry Michael Conley. Conley was out on bail, but the family was never informed.

Conley went on to be convicted of his ex-girlfriend’s murder and died in prison in 2007. Henry Nicholas went on to form Broadcom and is now a billionaire who puts millions into the fight for victims’ rights.

Locally, Warren has been a victims’ rights advocate himself. Since taking office two years ago, Warren adopted a policy disarming domestic abusers.

His program requires law enforcement officers responding to domestic abuse calls to ask a series of questions to determine whether or not there the offender has access to a gun. The State Attorney’s Office can then seek to have that person relinquish the firearm as a contingency of bail or a plea deal.

“Is it going to solve the problem? No. I’ll be frank with you,” Warren said earlier this year. “But if we take one gun, it’s a win.”

 

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]



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