TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A legal battle about whether a 2018 constitutional amendment known as “Marsy’s Law” can shield the identities of police officers went to the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The city of Tallahassee filed a notice that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to decide whether the constitutional amendment, which is designed to bolster crime victims’ rights, can apply to police officers who were threatened in use-of-force incidents.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal last month sided with two Tallahassee police officers, who argued that, as victims, they were entitled to privacy protections included in Marsy’s Law.
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The decision came in a lawsuit filed against the city by the Florida Police Benevolent Association, which represents the police officers, who are identified in court documents as “John Doe 1” and “John Doe 2.”
As is common, the city’s notice of taking the issue to the Supreme Court did not provide detailed legal arguments. But a statement issued last week by City Attorney Cassandra Jackson said the “case is one of great public importance to the state of Florida in its appellate level interpretation” of Marsy’s Law.
“With respect for the (appellate) court’s opinion and appreciation of the difficult work performed by police officers every day, the decision has far-reaching implications related to public transparency and is deserving of final review by Florida’s highest court,” Jackson said in the statement.
The lawsuit is the first major test of whether Marsy’s Law conflicts with a decades-old government-in-the-sunshine amendment that enshrined in the Florida Constitution some of the nation’s broadest public-records laws.
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