Florida Phoenix by Mitch Perry
January 16, 2019
Killearn Estates residents in the northeast part of Tallahassee were concerned and confused about a news blackout regarding a death that closed down traffic in their neighborhood for several hours this past Saturday morning.
What was going on?
After an initial press release announced an accident had occurred, it took more than 48 hours before the police department released any details, saying only in a subsequent release that it was a traffic crash involving a pedestrian.
The press release also noted that because of Marsy’s Law, they were limited in the amount of information they could share with the public.
Six hours later, the agency followed up with a statement on its Facebook page, saying that they were receiving “numerous questions from the public regarding Marsy’s Law, and how it affects the information we can release.”
The statement elicited strong reactions from community members – both positively and negatively, and shined a light on the new state law approved by more than 61 percent of Floridians last November.
The fact is, supporters and critics of the victim rights measure known as Marsy’s Law don’t agree on much – but most appear to be on the same page when it comes to acknowledging that there remains a significant number of details in the measure that lack clear definition, and it will require some major tweaks if it’s going to work as intended.
Marsy’s Law in other states: Not a smooth transition
Florida was one of six states to pass a variation of Marsy’s Law in November, making a total of 11 states around the country who have passed its provisions.
The national movement has been led by tech billionaire Henry Nichols, who became an advocate for crime victims after his sister, UC-Santa Barbara student Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, was stalked and killed in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend.