ACLU of Florida warned that Proposal 96 would not make victims whole and could undermine the constitutional rights of the accused; This proposal allowing corporations to have constitutional rights equal to individual victims of crime and those accused of crime will now be on Floridians’ November Ballot.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) has voted 34-3 in support of placing Proposal 6001, which contains the language of Proposal 96, a “Victims’ Rights” proposal also referred to as “Marsy’s Law” on Floridians’ November ballot.

The CRC rejected amendments that would have ensured that the Proposal only applied to natural persons, and not corporations.  Additionally, the CRC deleted language from our current constitution that ensured that the constitutional rights of the accused would not be interfered with.

From a letter sent by the ACLU of Florida to the members of the CRC:

“It is an understatement to say that victims of crime are often revictimized in our current criminal justice system that focuses almost exclusively on punishment of perpetrators and pays very little attention to the experience of victims and making victims whole. Nowhere is this more apparent than in context of sexual violence against women and girls, where society too often distrusts the victim’s account of abuse or blames the victim for the abuse (by judging whether her clothing was provocative, her decision to walk home at night alone, her alcohol intake, etc.).

 “However, Proposal 96 is not the answer to these concerns. It fails to meaningfully address the experience of victims, and will result in diluting the due process protections of the accused and thwarting the discovery process.

[…]

Proposal 96 significantly impairs the rights of the accused because it deletes the current constitutional requirement ensuring that nothing “interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.

Additionally, Proposal 96 is incredibly misleading to the public. To stay true to the stated intent of Marsy’s law, and the beliefs of those in the public who have supported it, we urge the CRC to ensure that any proposal apply only to natural persons (not corporations) who have suffered direct physical or psychological harm as a result of a violent crime or serious offense.

“Survivors and victims of crime are often not treated with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled, but Marsy’s Law is not the answer. Updating and expanding services for victims and survivors of crime takes real investment. Proposal 96 does not meaningfully provide the emotional and financial support that victims need, and it deletes the fundamental requirement that ensures that the constitutional rights of the accused are not interfered with.”

A copy of the full letter is available here.

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