WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Criminal defense attorney Ronald S. Chapman weighs in on the passage of the Victims of Crimes Bill (Florida SB 1012) unanimously passed by the Florida legislature earlier this year to bolster crime victims’ rights. The Bill was sponsored by Senator Danny Burgess (R), and the House version was sponsored by Representative Colleen Burton (R). The Bill was approved by Governor DeSantis on May 12, 2022, and became effective on July 1, 2022.
Like many other states, Florida has established legal protections for crime victims. These rights are an essential component of the criminal justice system for victims, who would otherwise have no legal standing to participate in or be heard during court proceedings against those who have harmed them.
The Bill, described as a continuation of Marsy’s Law, mirrors in three Florida statutes the amended language voters placed in the Florida Constitution in 2018. Marsy’s Law was overwhelmingly passed in November of 2018 as a constitutional amendment expanding victims’ rights through direct voting of Florida citizens, with 61.61% of the vote.
The Bill is an important step toward ensuring consistency and accuracy in the information provided to crime victims about their rights under Marsy's Law for Florida by law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Bill states unequivocally that crime victims have an absolute right to counsel and encourages the Florida Bar to compile a list of attorneys willing to work pro bono for crime victims.
“Although I represent the accused in my practice, Florida crime victims have certain rights to participate in prosecuting those who have harmed them. The Bill clarifies that crime victims, ‘upon request,’ have the ability to attend or be heard at a criminal proceeding. The Bill's passage is significant not only for the judicial process, but also for the victim's own road to healing. From a defense standpoint, it is important to note that the provisions of the Bill do not deny the defendant any rights and do not interfere with the defendant's right to a fair trial or the right to appeal a conviction in any way,” says criminal defense attorney Ronald S. Chapman.
About Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
Ron Chapman has 30 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer. He represents people accused of committing a wide range of crimes in both State and Federal Court in Florida. Those crimes include DUI, battery, economic crimes such as theft and dealing in stolen property, animal abuse, traffic crimes such as reckless driving, murder, manslaughter, crimes against children, federal crimes involving guns and drugs, sex crimes, crimes against the elderly, appeals, and violations of probation.
If you or someone you know requires the assistance of a proven criminal defense attorney, look no further than the law firm of Ronald S. Chapman. Call him today at (561) 832-4348 or visit his website at https://www.justiceflorida.com/. His professional team is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.