‘Marsy's Law' group seeks to enter ballot lawsuit

Lawsuit seeks to block crime victims' rights proposal from going on ballot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A national group that has spearheaded a Florida ballot proposal on crime victims’ rights is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit to help defend the proposed constitutional amendment.

Marsy Law for Florida, LLC, which is affiliated with the Marsy Law for All National Foundation, filed a motion Thursday in Leon County circuit court asking for approval to become formally involved in the lawsuit filed by Southwest Florida defense attorney Lee Hollander.

The lawsuit seeks to block the proposed constitutional amendment from going on the November ballot, with Hollander arguing that the wording of the proposal would mislead voters.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission this year approved putting the proposal, designated as Amendment 6, on the ballot.

Supporters of the proposal, which has become commonly known as “Marsy’s Law,” argue it would establish a series of rights for crime victims, including the right to be notified of major developments in criminal cases and the right to be heard in the legal proceedings.

The amendment also would increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. And it would provide that judges should not necessarily defer to the interpretation of laws and rules by governmental agencies in legal proceedings.

The Marsy Law organization led efforts to get the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

The motion to intervene said the organization has a “unique and compelling interest in this matter. Amendment 6 is patterned after a California constitutional provision that was adopted by the voters in 2008 known as ‘Marsy’s Law.’”

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers is scheduled to hear arguments Aug. 24 in the case.

The national movement stems from the 1983 death of a California woman, Marsy Nicholas, who was stalked and killed by an ex-boyfriend.