A majority of states have adopted state constitutional amendments protecting crime victims’ rights. Most of those amendments were adopted long ago and many fail to comprehensively address crime victims’ interests. In response to these shortcomings, the nation is seeing a new wave of state constitutional amendments protecting crime victims’ rights. Among these states is Florida, where in November 2018 Florida voters approved significantly expanded protections for crime victims in Florida’s Constitution—“Marsy’s Law for Florida.”
This Article explains in detail how Marsy’s Law for Florida provides important new protections for crime victims in the Florida criminal justice process. The Article begins by providing a brief overview of the crime victims’ rights movement in this country. It then turns to the specific crime victims’ rights added by the new Florida Amendment, describing why each of these rights is an important addition to Florida’s Constitution (and other similar constitutional amendments in other states). The Article concludes by reviewing broader lessons to be learned from Florida’s new enactment, contending that Florida’s recent experience may be useful for other states considering expanding their state constitutional protections and may ultimately set the stage for a federal constitutional debate about protecting crime victims’ rights.