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Marsy’s Law Backers Confident of Ballot Language

Marsy's Law establishes the right of victims of crime to be informed, to be present, and to be heard at all crucial criminal proceedings. (Pixabay)
Marsy's Law establishes the right of victims of crime to be informed, to be present, and to be heard at all crucial criminal proceedings. (Pixabay)
April 23, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Supporters of a constitutional amendment that has been discussed for months are hopeful that the language surrounding the proposal will be easy for voters to understand.

Marsy's Law, which would give crime victims more details about the judicial process, needs 60 percent voter support to pass this November. Tim Cerio, a commissioner on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, said the only way the proposal can get approved is if it's easy to understand.

"And that's the key point,” Cerio said. “The bundling and the combining of these different concepts only works if the ballot summary language that the voters will read is clear and understandable and not misleading and not confusing."

Lawyers and a judge were hired to ensure that the language of the proposal isn't lost on readers come election time.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission voted 34-to-3 to approve the proposal last week. Supporters of Marsy's Law say the law is there to make sure victims are engaged and informed throughout the court processes.

Opponents believe nothing needs to be changed and that this process would just create more difficulties. Cerio said the amendment would put more power in victims' hands.

"You would have an ability to go to court to seek enforcement of Marsy's Law if you are not provided with the rights you are entitled to,” he said. “You could go before a judge an say, 'Judge, I am not getting notice of hearings,' or, 'Judge, I wasn't consulted before pre-agreement was accepted.'"

Marsy's Law has garnered support across the state from various sheriffs, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL