We are all familiar with federal and state laws that provide those accused and convicted of a crime with clear protections to ensure due process. However, many are surprised to learn crime victims don’t have any clear, enforceable rights within the state constitution. This means that, legally, crime victims have less rights than criminals. Individuals do not ask to become crime victims, and as law enforcement, we want to do everything we can to protect them from the physical, psychological and economic effects they suffer as a result. However, our hands are often tied. We took an oath to enforce the law, and the law does not offer enforceable rights for crime victims.

As a sheriff, I’ve witnessed firsthand how crime can destroy people’s lives and the community. I firmly believe we need constitutional provisions that protect the rights of victims as fiercely as the rights of the accused — nothing more, and nothing less. Marsy’s Law for Florida will appear on the ballot this November as Amendment 6. If passed by 60 percent of voters, crime victims will be entitled to the same rights as those accused and convicted of a crime.

I joined dozens of my fellow Florida sheriffs in endorsing Amendment 6 because I believe Marsy’s Law will not only benefit our state, but also improve the way we deal with crime and its victims. Marsy’s Law will finally give crime victims the rights they deserve while ensuring the rights for those accused of a crime remain unchanged.

Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson Jr.,

Walton County