Marsy Law: Florida Supreme Court to Decide Whether Police Are Victims of Crime


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to go ahead and hear a case focused on Marsy’s law, deciding whether police officers can be considered victims of crime in the line of duty. The case follows a dispute between the city of Tallahassee and the Florida Police Benevolent Association over protecting the identity of officers in cases where they use lethal force.

Marsy’s Law is a law passed from a 2018 amendment and voting initiative by voters in Florida.

Under the law, officially called “Marsy’s Law Crime Victims’ Rights, Judicial Retirement Age and Changing Judicial Interpretation of Laws and Rules”, victims of crime and their families are entitled to respect. privacy and due process.

Since its passage, some Florida law enforcement agencies have obscured the identity of police officers involved in deadly force cases, protecting them by claiming that the police themselves had been the victims of a crime while on their own. responded in the performance of their duties.

After three shootings involving officers in 2020, the Florida Police Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit against the city of Tallahassee to protect officers from identification, arguing that in the line of duty they were victims themselves. The city of Tallahassee disagreed and fought back in court. Several news outlets joined the lawsuit, arguing that the public has a right to know the identity of officers to assess their conduct and hold bad officers accountable.

A Leon County judge agreed and ordered the names to be released. The PBA appealed and the 1st District Court of Appeal overturned the decision in April 2021.

Supporters of Marsy’s law used to protect the identity of officers say officers are not precluded from being victims when acting in an official capacity. Opponents of the interpretation told 8 On Your Side in April that it is taking police responsibility in the wrong direction.

Faced with another appeal on the overthrow of the 1st arrondissement, the Florida Supreme Court accepted take charge of the case. The petitioner, in this case Tallahassee, must submit briefs on the merits of the case by January 25, 2022. The 1st District Court of Appeal must submit its own cases by January 18, 2022.

Oral pleadings in court will follow, although a specific date has yet to be set.

Depending on the outcome, the case could have implications for local law enforcement as well, including the case of the fatal shooting involving an officer of Alexander King, 17, in which the responding officers did not been identified. In official Tarpon Springs Police documentation, officers’ names are blackened, with red characters saying “Redacted under Marsy’s Law.”

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