JSO transparency page sees changes after Florida Supreme Court decision on Marsy’s Law

A new decision to release names of crime victims to the public in Florida has already impacted the local community and how law enforcement agencies share information.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled a state law — known as Marsy’s Law — meant to protect crime victims, does not necessarily protect their name from public release.

RELATED | Marsy’s Law doesn’t protect anyone’s name, including law enforcement, Florida Supreme Court rules

Marsy’s Law entitled victims of crimes the right to prevent information from being released that “could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family,” but the Supreme Court ruled that does not guarantee “police officer or otherwise the categorical right to withhold his or her name from disclosure.”

Since 2018, law enforcement has used this law to shield the names of officers involved in shootings, under the premise that they are victims.

In Jacksonville, the sheriff’s office uses it to shield the names of crime victims who don’t opt out.

For AJ Jordan, who works through his organization MAD DADS to try to get justice for murder victims, the ruling was a victory.

“I think when you have a murder victim that’s an unknown, that’s a John Doe, the perpetrator feels like nobody cares, nobody’s looking,” Jordan said.

MORE | Justices weigh police ‘Marsy’s Law’ case

Bobby Block, executive director of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, said the move will remove a hindrance to accountability.

“I think that Marsy’s Law became the shield, behind which many, many, many law enforcement departments hid to protect their personnel. And I’m not exactly sure what they were hiding their personnel from,” Block said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office took action quickly. Its transparency page listing details of officer-involved shootings now includes a column listing the officers involved.

The Florida Supreme Court’s order said information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, do not encompass the victim’s identity.

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