Opinion

Victims’ rights should not trump open government

In Tampa, two people were found dead in a car near Busch Gardens and the police refused to tell the public anything about them. In Tallahassee, someone was run over and killed on a main road in a middle-class neighborhood and the police refused to tell the public anything about that person. This is a dangerous, unprecedented assault on open government in Florida, and it is the result of an expansive interpretation of a sentence buried in a constitutional amendment that never should have been on the ballot.

Voters in November approved Amendment 6, which was placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission that thankfully meets only once every 20 years. The so-called Marsy’s Law was jammed with unrelated provisions, including raising the mandatory retirement age for judges and unnecessary additional protections for crime victims. A sentence in the body of the amendment that was not reflected in the ballot title or the ballot summary says every victim of a crime has “the right to prevent the disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information of the victim.’’

Read the full article from the Tampa Bay Times: Victims’ rights should not trump open government