Fla. Supreme Court Rules Marsy's Law Can't Protect Police Officers

Nov. 30, 2023
In its ruling, the Florida Supreme Court determined that a law meant to protect a crime victim does not guarantee "the categorical right to withhold his or her name from disclosure.”

Florida police officers will not be able to shield their identity behind Marsy’s Law, the 2018 constitutional amendment meant to protect victims of crimes after the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

The ruling stemmed from two incidents in Tallahassee in 2020 in which officers both shot and killed a person while on-duty. When reporters sought the names of the officers involved, the police union said the names should be exempt because the officers were assaulted by the people they shot, and therefore were victims.

In the opinion written by Justice John Couriel, the Supreme Court ruled that “Marsy’s Law does not guarantee to a victim the categorical right to withhold his or her name from disclosure.”

Couriel said that Marsy’s law speaks about a victim’s right to prevent information being disclosed that could be used to “locate” them. He said that providing a name alone “communicates nothing about where the individual can be found and bothered.”

Justices Carlos Muñiz, Charles Canady, Jamie Grosshans, Renatha Francis concurred. Justice Jorge Labarga concurred with the result. Justice Meredith Sasso did not participate.

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