Marsy’s Law, A Headache for Law Enforcement Agencies

Marsy’s Law, A Headache for Law Enforcement Agencies

With 61 percent of the vote, Amendment 6 was passed in the state of Florida. The constitutional amendment made changes to the state law regarding the rights of crime victims, the age at which judges are required to retired, and judicial deference.

Over the last week, there has been some controversy over the section pertaining to victims’ rights. The ambiguity of the law has confused law enforcement agencies across the state.

Known as Marsy’s Law, the constitutional amendment provides crime victims, their families, and their lawful representatives with specific rights. These include the right to due process, the right to a consideration of the victims’ welfare when setting bail, and the right to proceedings free of unreasonable delay. Perhaps the most important, however, is the right to be free from harassment and intimidation.

Marsy’s law indicates that individuals who are victims of a crime have the right to have their information protected— that is unreleased.

Law enforcement agencies in the state have different interpretations of the law.

In a recent interview with Real Mornings with Greg Tish and Bobby Mac, Public Information Officer Damon Miller commented on TPD’s procedure in regard to Marsy’s Law. He said that all information related with the location and relationship to the victim will be left out in records. He mentioned that this includes any case prior to the implementation of this new law.

‘’It [Marsy’s Law] restricts the information we give out now’’, said Miller.

While TPD automatically defers information of victims from being released, other law enforcement agencies are not doing the same. Such is the case with Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

LCSO sees Marsy’s law as an opt-in requirement. ‘’The information of the victim will be kept confidential only at the victims’ request’’, says LCSO Public Information Officer Dave Teems.

Marsy’s law is broad and ambiguous at this point in time and every agency is doing something different. The future will tell how the law will be enforced. Miller, TPD’s PIO, noted that the senate judiciary committee is working on setting out guidelines for Marsy’s law.

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