ICYMI - April 22, 2024
Florida State House District 4

Florida Politics published State Representative Patt Maney's latest opinion editorial this morning, linked HERE, as well as copied/pasted below, for your convenience.

No one asks to become a victim of crime. Few are prepared for the ramifications. Court dates, reliving the crime through repeated testimony, and in states without Marsy’s Law on the books, having their personal information shared in the media.

For the past five years, Florida has been blessed with critical protection for victims and their families. As voters and advocates, we stood arm-in-arm with victims of crime in Florida to enshrine Marsy’s Law in the state constitution five years ago, creating a clear set of protected rights for crime victims that were long overdue.

As a former judge in a pre-Marsy’s Law world, I witnessed the fear and worry of victims that they could still be targets for criminals who previously hurt them. Marsy’s Law for Florida created peace of mind and empowerment for victims by preventing the automatic public disclosure of personally identifiable information. It’s been a game changer for so many innocent lives.

Unfortunately, a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling stripped crime victims of this right. The ruling stated that a victim’s name was not information that could be used to identify or locate them. In today’s digital age, this is demonstrably false. A quick web search of a name can lead to social media profiles, workplace locations, and even home addresses. It is my great hope that we can return the right to privacy to Florida’s crime victims through future legislative action.

Despite the court’s poorly made decision, Marsy’s Law for Florida continues to serve as a light in the darkness. Since 2018, the state has made efforts to ensure Floridians who are the victims of crime know their rights under Marsy’s Law for Florida, providing informational material, clarifying responsibilities for those involved in the justice system, and creating consistency across the court notification process.

Victims continue to have the right to be notified of all court proceedings involving their case, the right to be present and heard during those proceedings, the right to confer with the prosecutor, the right to keep court proceedings free from unreasonable delay, and the right to know if their perpetrator is being released from prison.

It is critical that the government serve the people by ensuring they know their rights should they ever find themselves in that terrible position. I am proud to be a persistent advocate for Marsy’s Law in the Florida House of Representatives, as it provides crime victims with the dignity and respect they deserve, as well as an equal voice in our judicial system.

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, “How would you help?” calls on each one of us to support victims of crime by preserving the safety they need to share their stories and seek justice.

Stand with us. Stand with those innocents who find themselves the victims of unjust harm in Florida.

Patt Maney is a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, former Okaloosa County Judge, and current Florida State Representative for House District 4.
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"Thank you for allowing me to represent you. It is truly an honor to serve you and the State of Florida." - Representative Patt Maney