The amendment, if placed on the 2018 statewide ballot and passed by 60 percent of voters, would create a Marsy’s Law for Florida, to “bring assurance that victims of crime and their families are provided with enforceable constitutional protections, the same level that is afforded to those accused and convicted – nothing more and nothing less,” Nocco said in a statement.
If approved, victims and their families would be informed of their rights and services available, and would be notified of major developments in a criminal case and of changes to an offender’s custodial status, such as being released on bail.
It would allow victims and their families the right to be present — and heard — at court proceedings, providing feedback to the prosecutor before finalizing a plea agreement and establishing a right to restitution from the convicted.
“I believe victims of crime should have the same rights as the accused and should be treated fairly and with dignity,” Nocco said. “By allowing this language on the 2018 ballot, we will be giving all Floridians the ability to put their stamp of approval on this common sense, victim friendly initiative. I ask my fellow CRC commissioners to stand with me in supporting this measure.”
Fellow commissioners Patricia Levesque and Carolyn Timmann have both signed on as co-sponsors of the initiative, he added. The amendment is also supported by state Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat.
While most states give crime victims constitutional-level protections, Florida remains one of 15 that does not.
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a California woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, the accused murderer confronted Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, at a grocery store. The family was not informed the accused was released on bail.
Information on the Marsy’s Law nationwide initiative is at marsyslaw.us, Facebook and Twitter. For the group’s Florida efforts, visit marsyslaw.us/marsys-law-state-efforts/florida or @MarsysLawForFL on Twitter.
The CRC meets every 20 years to review and propose changes to the Florida Constitution for voter consideration.