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Supreme Court Has an Opportunity to Do the Right Thing for Victims

September 6, 2018 - 6:00am

The Florida Supreme Court was in South Florida Wednesday hearing arguments for why Amendment 6, also known as Marsy’s Law for Florida, should remain on the November General Election ballot. More than political or legal theatre, this is an issue that is so important and so deeply personal to Floridians who are survivors of crime, including me.

Right now, the scales of justice in Florida are far from balanced. While the accused and convicted have 20 distinct rights afforded to them under the U.S. Constitution, that great document is silent on victims’ rights. Our own state constitution lacks any clear, enforceable rights for victims. How can we as a society look crime victims in the face and tell them they don’t have the same rights and protections as the person who perpetrated the crime against them?

If passed by voters, Amendment 6 would ensure victims have the same rights and protections already provided to the accused and convicted -- no more, no less -- and would place these rights in the Florida Constitution. Victims deserve to have coequal rights and the voters deserve an opportunity to consider this measure.

The victims’ rights movement in Florida is on a precipice. We have the opportunity to join with other states in providing meaningful constitutional protections for victims or to remain among the few who do not. The decision lies with the Florida Supreme Court. My hope is the high court will uphold Amendment 6 and voters will be able to exercise their democratic right to vote for what they believe on this issue in November.

Lauren Book is founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, an internationally-recognized child protection advocate. She is also a best-selling author and a state senator.

Comments

Once again, Lauren Book is an outstanding leader in our state. Her passion and steadfast actions to represent the youngest victims have led to stricter laws. I’ve walked side by side with her in Jax . I know first hand the injustice in our system. I will walk 1000 miles to be a victim advocate and a champion of amendment 6! Thk u Lauren and Mr. Book! KSmith

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The opponents who put this in court are the liberal allies of the Democrats. Senator Book is correct, but it's her party's "friends" who are causing the problem. Florida Public Defender Association; ACLU of Florida; League of Women Voters of Florida; Florida Education Association.

Unfortunately the Amendment is hiding 3 other proposals that the Republicans don't want the voters to think about. This is a "bundling", not just victims rights. I wouldn't be surprised that it is thrown out or stripped. Leaders should actually try doing the right thing, rather than trying to scam the voters. Do you like hidden government? Vote on this Amendment. Shame. Trumpism at its best.

Perhaps those who do not understand the spirit and intent of this amendment need to be a crime victim to better appreciate it. Anything that better balances the victims right over that of the perpetrator(s) should have little opposition if any at all. Ultimately, any ambiguities will be addressed by our appellate courts that will interpret what means and how it will apply, anyway.

i heart lauren books.

I live in Lauren's district, and while I disagree with A LOT of her positions, she gained a lot of respect from me when she supported Ryan Petty for School Board. Broward Schools are a mess and she stood up for what's right. Showed me, even if I disagree with her, her heart is in the right place. Thanks, Lauren.

My problem is comprehending WHAT do they mean by victim's rights That has never been clearly explained The TV advert running is just a mystery to me

Thanks, Sen. Book for your thoughtful piece on why this Constitutional Amendment is needed...Florida Smart Justice Alliance also endorses this good amendment and we hope it makes its way into the state Constitution...please support Marsy's Law and vote on November 6th for Amendment 6!!

Why do I get the feeling you are not telling the whole story here. Just why does the SC have trouble deciding it if that is all there is?

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