Christian Ziegler case leads Lauren Book to revisit Marsy’s Law

'That’s not necessarily the way it was intended. It’s for true victims of crime.'

One of the main supporters of Marsy’s Law, which established a slate of rights for crime victims, is criticizing the way former Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler invoked it to block information from his cellphone recovered by law enforcement while investigating a sexual assault allegation against him.

“I’m a little surprised. I don’t know that that’s exactly what we intended,” said Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, a vocal supporter of Marsy’s Law. “That’s not necessarily the way it was intended. It’s for true victims of crime.”

Book says part of the confusion surrounding the law and its haphazard interpretation around the state stems from the lack of an implementing bill passed by the Legislature to define parameters and procedures for law enforcement officials and the courts on a statewide basis to enforce the rights of victims.

“We’ve never really done it,” said Book, referring to passing an implementing bill for Marsy’s Law. “So it’s never been applied the way it should be intended.”

“That’s something we knew immediately that we needed to have done and we didn’t do it,” she added.

It’s something Marsy’s Law for Florida, the group that advocated for the measure, would back a bill that puts those parameters in place.

“We support any legislation that would ensure Florida crime victims are afforded the rights enshrined in the state constitution and that provides guidelines for implementation,” a spokeswoman for the group wrote in an email.

It appears unlikely, however, that an implementing bill will be passed this year.

The only bills addressing the issue are HB 1605 and HB 1607, which would shield the names of police officers who use deadly force on duty from being released to the public. The bills were filed in answer to a Florida Supreme Court ruling in November holding that Marsy’s Law doesn’t block the release of officers’ names, but they haven’t received a hearing and don’t have Senate companion measures so they are unlikely to pass during the Regular Session.

Sarasota police decided not to charge Ziegler with sexual assault. However, an investigation into video voyeurism has been handed to a State Attorney and is still pending.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune was the first to report that Ziegler’s lawyer was invoking Marsy’s Law to block the release of his cellphone records, arguing he was the victim of a false report. The Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that Sarasota police have determined Ziegler is not a victim and can’t invoke the law, but Ziegler is still looking to block the release of the records on other grounds.

Marsy’s Law was a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot in 2018 by the Constitutional Revision Commission, and it was approved by nearly 62% of voters.

The measure enshrined rights in the constitution for crime victims and their families, including the right to be informed of criminal proceedings involving the case of their perpetrator, the right to be heard at such proceedings, and the right to confer with prosecutors over plea bargain deals.

It also states a crime victim has the right to prevent disclosure of records that “could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information of the victim.”

Yet it also states “the term ‘victim’ does not include the accused.”

Gray Rohrer


  • It's Complicated

    February 9, 2024 at 2:40 pm

    This case is a true paradox. If Ziegler had not ILLEGALLY recorded his encounter with the woman who FALSELY accused him of sexual assault, it would have been his word against hers. When the State Attorney’s Office viewed the illegal recording, they agreed it was consensual.
    Is Ziegler disreputable? Yes.
    Is Ziegler the victim of a false accusation? Yes.
    Did Ziegler illegally record the event? Yes.
    Is Ziegler the victim of a crime? Arguably, yes, because the false reporting of a crime is a crime.
    Is the accuser a liar? Yes.
    Did the accuser break the law by making a false report of a crime to the police? Arguably, yes.

    • Greg

      February 9, 2024 at 3:43 pm

      I’m amazed at many of your conclusions…we KNOW the Woman was drunk and has mental problems…in such cases, it does not make her accusation false….nor does it make her a liar.
      It’s a judgement call by the Police or Prosecutor (let’s face it – Christian is gonna get much more of a break than most of us – we can only imagine!).
      Just because a criminal case is not going forward…does not mean all the things you stated.

      The Tip of the Iceberg theory is likely at play – that is, Ziegler is probably more of a perv than we can imagine…and likely others things have gone down (is there money involved? Use of Power?)….

      This is Florida…and if anyone thinks the head of the GOP and DeSantis buddy is going to get the full weight of the law and a full investigation….they are smoking that illegal substance!

  • Phil Morton

    February 9, 2024 at 3:26 pm

    The law was designed to protect the victim, not the accused. Sarasota police interpreted the law correctly and Christian Ziegler belongs in jail. Release the records!

  • Julia

    February 9, 2024 at 5:39 pm

    Earn 29k Dollars. When you’re ready to take a serious look, start with some of the most reputable companies that offer legitimate work-from-home jobs. To find the right work-from-home job, make sure you’re applying for jobs with legitimate companies,


  • The ACLU warned us about this

    February 9, 2024 at 11:32 pm

    If only Book had listened to everyone telling her that it’s a terrible law, maybe then it wouldn’t be haunting us 6 years on. But nooo, she had to be its champion.

    Book makes me ashamed to be a member of the Florida Democratic Party. She’s barely a Democrat.

  • Marsy's Law is a bad law

    February 10, 2024 at 12:13 am

    It’s almost as if treating someone as the victim of a crime without an adjudication of guilt was a bad idea. Who could have thought?

  • not graceful

    February 10, 2024 at 4:26 pm

    Lauren Book is not aging gracefully, wow, imagine what she will look like in ten years,, to much plastic surgery

Comments are closed.


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