MIAMI, FL – From ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon:
Statement on Amendment 6
“The passage of Amendment 6 is a threat to the balance of the rights of all parties in a criminal case that is necessary to ensure that innocent individuals are not wrongly convicted.
“This amendment, promoted by tens of millions of dollars of slick and misleading political ads, does nothing to address the most critical needs of crime victims, and instead imposes dangerous limits on a person’s right to appeal a conviction. A 5-year limit on appeals in a capital case would have ensured that Florida would have sent an innocent person to Death Row.
“Florida voters already put protections for the rights of victims of crime into our state constitution 30 years ago. Despite how it was presented to Florida voters, this new amendment will do little to advance victims’ rights and now allows corporations to claim ‘victim’ status.
"The implementation of Amendment 6 will be the subject of years of constitutional challenges in the courts. And, at the end of the day, it is very unlikely that the federal courts will allow Florida to violate the standards set in the U.S. Constitution for the protection of the rights of those the state accuses of a crime.”
Statement on Amendment 11
“Florida voters have taken an important step toward meaningful criminal justice reform with the passage of Amendment 11. With this amendment’s passage, the legislature will be able to make changes to our state’s outdated sentencing laws and apply those changes retroactively to reduce over-incarceration in our state’s prisons.
“Over the years, the legislature has enacted some counter-productive policies that contributed to over-incarceration and a large and aging prison population. Now, more than half of those in Florida’s prisons are there for non-violent offenses. Our state is using prisons as an alternative to treatment for mental illnesses and substance abuse.
“The passage of Amendment 11 will permit judges to revise sentences that future legislatures may see as unnecessarily harsh.
"If criminal justice reform is to see the light of day, if the state is going to end the use of incarceration for offenses that are largely related to drug addiction, the passage of Amendment 11 was necessary to breathe life into the possibility of criminal justice and, especially, sentencing reform.”