Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her murder and on the way home from the funeral service, Marsy’s family was confronted by her daughter’s murderer. Having received no notification from the judicial system, the family had no idea he had been released on bail mere days after Marsy’s murder. Marsy’s family was not informed because the courts and law enforcement had no obligation to keep them informed.
As a result, voters in seventeen states have passed Marsy’s law, with Florida voters passing its version of the law in 2018. The law was sold as a victims’ rights bill, but it wasn’t long before the law of unintended consequences showed itself.
Since police who use force against someone are only doing so because they claim themselves to be victims of a crime, they can refuse to allow their names to be released. A cop can claim that someone threatened them, use force against that person, and then demand that their names be withheld because they are a victim.
That is exactly what happened here when a police officer shot and killed a man on the campus of a Melbourne college. The odd part here is that the same law doesn’t appear to apply when a private citizen does the exact same thing.
When the voters of this state voted on the amendment, it was intended to give victims of crimes a bit of privacy. It wasn’t intended to give police a means of becoming secret death squads with no public accountability.