'Marsy's Law,' Public Records Law Clash in Police Case

Submitted by NFOIC on Wed, 07/15/2020 - 12:57pm

The city of Tallahassee and media organizations tried to persuade a circuit judge that a 2018 constitutional amendment aimed at protecting victims’ rights does not allow police officers involved in use-of-force incidents to keep their identities secret.

The arguments came in a lawsuit filed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association asserting that the constitutional amendment known as “Marsy’s Law” applies to Tallahassee police officers “John Doe 1” and “John Doe 2.”

While the case was filed on behalf of the two officers against the city, it has exposed a broader conflict between two Florida constitutional amendments: Marsy’s Law and a decades-old government-in-the-sunshine amendment that established one of the nation’s broadest public-records laws.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson repeatedly referred to the potential conflict as he questioned lawyers on both sides during Monday’s hearing. (Read more)