This 7 days is Nationwide Criminal offense Victims’ Rights 7 days, a time to elevate consciousness of the worth of crime victims’ rights and to mark the milestones obtained in the crime victims’ rights motion.
Listed here in Florida, it is also a time to rejoice a different substantial move we have taken ahead with the legislature’s recent passage of the Victims of Crimes Invoice. Our deepest appreciation to the Florida Legislature, and invoice sponsors Sen. Danny Burgess and Rep. Colleen Burton, for advancing this invoice which achieves two critical goals for crime victims.
1st, the monthly bill conforms the crime victims’ legal rights language presently in Florida statute to the amended language voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of and positioned in the Florida Constitution in 2018 when they passed Marsy’s Regulation for Florida. The language in the state structure that specifies 18 distinct, enforceable rights for victims will now be mirrored in statute.
A single of the most essential rights Marsy’s Legislation gives criminal offense victims is the correct to be informed of their rights and that this info is furnished to all criminal offense victims in the kind of a card, brochure or other implies.
With the constitutional and statutory language in alignment, we can work toward making certain the uniformity and accuracy of the details regulation enforcement businesses deliver crime victims concerning their Marsy’s Law for Florida rights.
It will also make incredibly crystal clear to all those included in the prison justice procedure, which include law enforcement, point out attorneys, prosecutors and judges, what rights crime victims have and when they must be used.
The next explanation this bill is a victory for criminal offense victims is because it clarifies that criminal offense victims have an absolute right to counsel.
Many thanks to Marsy’s Regulation for Florida, victims now have standing in courtroom and they have a appropriate to have their possess attorney who can assert or look for to enforce their rights on their behalf. This part of the invoice was specially critical to Sen. Burgess who prosecuted as a JAG officer and experienced initially-hand how essential an legal professional for the target can be to the two the sufferer and the legal justice method.
For victims who are typically at the most vulnerable points in the lives, navigating the prison justice system can be a bewildering and discouraging procedure. Which is why Florida voters agreed crime victims need to have their own established of legal rights and protections that help guideline them through their conditions.
However, they can only provide on that promise if victims are aware they are entitled to them in the to start with place and that they are certain these legal rights and protections as the Florida Structure, and now Florida statute, intend.
Paul Hawkes was a choose on the Florida 1st District Court docket of Enchantment and now offers counsel to Marsy’s Regulation for Florida.
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