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Amendment 6 aimed at giving victims, families same rights as accused, convicted

Amendment 6 based on California's 'Marsy's Law'
Posted: 4:31 PM, Oct 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-17 22:28:09Z

Teresa Kondek’s husband, Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charlie Kondek, was killed in the line of duty in December 2014.

She and her family still agonize that their impact statements were delivered in a courtroom with an empty jury box.

"He got to share his family videos and photos and talk about his family but we were not allowed to share any of those things,” she said.

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Kondek supports Amendment 6 aimed at giving victims and their families the same rights as the accused and convicted.

  

But some argue these rights are already spelled out in Florida’s Constitution.     

"Article One of the Florida Constitution guarantees every victim in Florida three things. First, the right to be heard. Second, the right to be informed and thirdly, the right to be present at every single stage of the proceeding,” explained Melba Pearson, Deputy Director of the  Florida ACLU.

Florida’s ACLU opposes Amendment 6 saying it will chip away at defendant’s rights, limiting appeals to two years.

"Suppose you are in prison for something that you didn't do, right?  You swore up and down that you were not the person who committed that crime. New evidence comes to light and happens to come to light three years later,” said Pearson.

Amendment 6 is based on a California law, Marsy’s Law, adopted in six states in some form.

By voting “yes,” Kondek says it may help other families avoid being revictimized all over again.  

"We miss him a lot. We think of him every day,” she said.

Amendment 6 is "bundled."

Piece 3 says Judges and justices would not be permitted to serve after 70 years old except upon temporary assignment or to complete a term which is one-half served.