On April 16, an 86-year-old man from Berlin, Pennsylvania was killed in an accident near Wellen Park in Sarasota County. However, his name was not released by police even weeks after the fact, due to Florida privacy laws that were implemented under the 2018 state constitutional amendment referred to as “Marsy’s Law.”
In Florida, anyone who can be considered a “victim” in an accident is not identified in police reports. Compare this to Pennsylvania law, in which any member of the public can access names of people involved in vehicle accidents, unless they’re under 18 years old.
A national initiative
Florida is one of a number of states that implemented Marsy’s Law, a law named after Marsalee Nicholas of California. Marsy was killed by her ex in 1983. The ex then confronted Marsy’s mother in a grocery store a week later, with the family not even having been notified that he was out on bail after the murder.
The law is designed to ensure victims of crimes are able to have dignity throughout the criminal justice process. In Florida, law enforcement agencies interpret the law to withhold certain pieces of information, including the names of victims in accident reports. These interpretations can vary from agency to agency.
So if you see articles discussing accidents and people involved but with names redacted or not included, this is due to the Marsy’s Law amendment, which law enforcement agencies are able to interpret in a wide variety of ways. In an accident case, the goal with this is to give victims and their families some privacy in the aftermath of what can be a devastating occurrence.
To learn more about Marsy’s Law and the effects it can have in personal injury claims, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.