Letter to the Editor from Sheriff Nienhuis
I’m proud to have served more than three decades in Florida law enforcement. In that time, I’ve been involved in thousands of cases, involving hundreds of various kinds of criminal activity. There is one thing that all of those cases had in common: none of them were victimless. In each instance, someone had their life altered in some way, some in very minor ways and others faced significant tragedy. Far too often, those victims have trouble making their voices heard. That’s why I’m supporting Amendment 6, also known as Marsy’s Law, on this year’s fall ballot.
Currently, Florida’s constitution gives only a brief mention to the rights of victims. Alleged criminals’ rights, on the other hand, are enumerated clearly, as they should be. Amendment 6 only seeks to give the rights of victims the same kind of clarity. I believe a victim has the right to be informed as to the status of the case that has impacted their life. I also believe a victim has the right to be heard by a court of law. They should be able to articulate how their life has been changed as the victim of a crime. Lastly, I believe a citizen has the right to be notified if the criminal who victimized that citizen is released. This seems like common sense, and yet, Florida’s constitution remains largely silent.
By voting yes on Amendment 6, you are speaking up for victims who, far too often, have lost their voice in the criminal justice system. They will finally have the rights they deserve codified in our state’s constitution. This November, I urge you to join me in voting yes on Amendment 6.