The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 6
Bottom Line: This is the sixth in a twelve-part series covering Florida’s proposed constitutional amendments. Amendments can be confusing enough to understand but furthering the confusion, while there were originally thirteen amendments scheduled for November’s ballot, a court ruling knocked the 8th off of the ballot. For that reason, you’ll see amendments 1 through 7 and 9 through 13. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot:
BALLOT TITLE: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
BALLOT SUMMARY: Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of the term has been served by retirement age.
Thoughts: This one has multiple pieces attached to it. I’ll take it from the easiest to understand details and work into the more complicated aspects. Here’s what it does:
- The mandatory retirement age for Florida’s judges would be 75, rather than 70.
- State courts would have to rule on applicable statutes themselves/independently.
- Provides greater specificity from “victim’s rights” in Florida including deadlines for appeals processes and victims obtaining the right to review sentencing information.
Given the three different pieces attached to this amendment, most will find at least something they agree with in the proposal. The question becomes whether there’s enough one may disagree with that keeps it from passing. Many question Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission’s decision to pack all of this into one proposed Amendment. If you’re struggling to decide how you’d like to vote on Amendment six this might help. Most in law enforcement in Florida support its passage. Most defense attorneys don’t. While somewhat conflicted because of the multiple pieces packed into one proposal, I do support its passage.
Photo by Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images