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Marsy’s Law Supporters Defend Amendment 6

November 1st, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Faith leaders with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference expressed their support a constitutional amendment they claim protects victims rights, but defense attorneys and others are asking tough questions about what Amendment 6 would actually accomplish.
Amendment six, named for a murdered California woman, Marsy’s law, would expand crime victim’s rights in the state constitution.
It’s supported by both Gubernatorial candidates, Florida law enforcement, some prosecutors and now faith leaders.
“Crime victims have civil rights also that must be protected,” said Reverend R.B. Holmes of Tallahassee’s Bethel Baptist Church Thursday.
Defense attorney’s and the ACLU oppose Marsy’s Law.
They say it would limit the rights of the accused.
“It’s going to let the victims run the show,” said  Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers Association President Richard Greenberg. “They’re going to be able to tell the prosecutors, judges and law enforcement how to handle the case.”
Victims like Ann Rowe, who was raped at gun point in 2015, disagree.
“I have every right for the judicial system to call me, to tell me what is happening in my case,” said Rowe.
Marsy’s law is the best funded amendment on the ballot with more than $30 million spent so far.
Pro-Amendment 6 ads have been accused of spreading misinformation by suggesting Florida currently has no protections for victims.
Tim Cerio the sponsor of Marsy’s law says while there are protections in the constitution and statute, enforcement is missing.
“There are often times, even though Florida statutes allow participation by victims at particular times, we found out on the road and a lot of prosecutors have confirmed that doesn’t always happen,” said Cerio.
Six states have adopted some form of Marsy’s Law.
South Dakota amended its version two years after it passed.
Montana’s Supreme Court over turned it because it violated the state’s single subject rule.
Amendment six also makes a change in how state agency rules are treated in court and it raises the retirement age of judges.
Voters must decide if the bundling is warranted.

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