by Trimmel Gomes
Among a number of amendments on Florida voters’ 2018 ballots, is Amendment 6, also known as Marsy’s Law.
The amendment to the state’s constitution is aimed at expanding the rights of crime victims during the legal process, and supporters say it creates equal footing with defendants.
Opponents of the constitutional change, such as Melba Pearson, deputy director of Florida’s American Civil Liberties Union, say that the changes victims need are not in the amendment’s language.
“Time off from work to be able to heal, relocation assistance if they’re in fear,” she stresses. “The things that victims truly do need are not being provided by this amendment, so it is a false bill of goods.”
Pearson also says that the language proposed is too broad to work for every state’s individual legal system. The amendment is based on the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008.
Marsy’s Law gives victims the right to refuse to be interviewed or provide evidence requested by the defendant.
Opponents of the amendment say that this will prevent a thorough investigation and unfairly favor the victim.
It also puts corporations that are crime victims on par with human victims, which could allow businesses to pursue more money and steeper punishments.
Pearson says that Florida’s victim rights to be heard, present and notified of proceedings already serve the state citizens well.
“Our constitution here in Florida is light-years ahead of many other states when it comes to victims’ rights,” she points out.
Five states actively use Marsy’s Law, while 35 have some form of victims’ rights in their constitution.
Public News Service – FL
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