Florida Politics by Scott Powers
February 28, 2019
Democratic state Sen. Lauren Book filed a bill Thursday for Florida to implement the measures in Amendment 6 approved by voters in November, the so-called “Marsy’s Law for Florida” initiative that expands and locks in victims’ rights in criminal cases.
Her Senate Bill 1426 delineates the rights, including victims’ rights to be heard in all proceedings, to be informed of all actions, and to be protected from harm or harassment during a criminal prosecution. The bill also spells out how state attorneys, courts, and law enforcement will enable those rights, and sets out new procedures and documents to enforce victims’ rights.
“Florida voters have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of equal rights for victims of crime,” Book stated in a news release. “My bill will ensure that everyone in the justice system is on the same page and working together to respect crime victims’ rights and keep them safe from further harm.”
SB 1426 declares the Florida Legislature’s intention to “ensure that crime victims are treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy. To achieve justice, by recognizing a victim’s rights to have a meaningful role throughout the proceedings of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. To ensure that crime victims are informed of their rights and have standing to assert their rights in the courts of this state.”
The bill also makes clear that victims’ rights cannot override decisions by state attorneys prosecuting cases.