Florida Supreme Court agrees to take up Marsy’s Law case

Florida Supreme Court building
Florida Supreme Court building
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 9:22 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 3:13 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida’s Supreme Court has accepted jurisdiction of a case about whether Marsy’s Law can be used to shield the identities of police officers who use deadly force in the line of duty. The case involves the City of Tallahassee and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

The issue dates back to three officer-involved shootings in the summer of 2020.

The Police Benevolent Association filed suit in Leon County Court, arguing the officers’ identities should be protected under Marsy’s Law because they were victims of a crime.

The lower court sided with the City, but the Appeals Court ruled in favor of the PBA.

“This is an important constitutional issue with statewide significance,” said Jennifer Fennell, a Marsy’s Law for Florida spokesperson. “That is why the Florida Supreme Court has jurisdiction. Adding clarity and uniformity to the law benefits everyone.”

In June 2021, the City of Tallahassee filed briefs asking the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case.

A coalition of News Media organizations, including the Tallahassee Democrat’s owner, also filed as intervenors, asking the Supreme Court for a final ruling.

The City’s filings asked the Supreme Court to answer three questions:

  1. Whether a law enforcement officer who is threatened with harm in the course and scope of official duty is a “crime victim” under “Marsy’s Law.”
  2. Whether the Constitutional Amendment requires a triggering event—the commencement of a criminal proceeding—before a “crime victim” is entitled to the protections of Marsy’s Law.
  3. Whether Marsy’s Law provides a constitutional right of anonymity to law enforcement officers who are threatened with harm in the course and scope of duty.

The Supreme Court of Florida’s order says the petitioner’s initial brief must be served on or before Jan. 25, 2022, and the respondent’s answer must be served within thirty days of the original brief.

It says oral argument on the case will be set in a separate order.

The City of Tallahassee released the following statement regarding the state Supreme Court taking up the case:

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