TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A legal battle over Marsy's Law is being heard by the Florida Supreme Court. Experts believe the Court will have a tough time coming to a decision that could not only affect officer's safety but also their community relationships.
Criminal Attorney Don Pumphrey is eager to hear the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on whether law enforcement officers can seek protection of their identities through Marsy’s law or not.
Marsy’s law is a victim's rights law. Pumphrey said the initial idea of it is to protect victims by not disclosing their names in police reports and gives them more power in cases that they’re involved in.
Pumphrey agrees with the Florida Police Benevolent Association’s argument that officers are people outside of the line of duty and deserve a level of safety.
“Just because an officer puts on a uniform and carries a gun, and it’s a very difficult time for law enforcement, it doesn’t mean they’re not human beings. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a wife and children and family,” said Pumphrey.
However, he agrees with the City of Tallahassee’s statement that people have the right to know officer’s identities for accountability purposes and to create more transparency in the community.
“The government and the citizens of the state of Florida wanting to you know be able to hold people accountable and be able to understand who’s involved in this, who’s involved in shootings.”
President of the Tallahassee NAACP Mutaqee Akbar said if officer's can be protected by Marsy’s law, it will take away transparency and create a bigger divide in the community.
“It goes towards kind of the belief that law enforcement if hiding something and I don’t know why law enforcement is okay with having that type of sentiment in the community,” said Akbar.
He believes they shouldn’t have anonymity since they’re well seen in the community.
“Their badge is on their lapel so it’s not a secret as to who they are when they go out there to the public, so I think it just needs to be an open and transparent relationship with the community at all times.”
Akbar thinks it’ll be a win if the court sides with the City of Tallahassee. “Florida Supreme Court doesn’t feel like law enforcement falls up under Marsy's Law, I think that would be a victory and I think again it’ll go towards healing and bridging that gap between the community and law enforcement.”
Regardless of the ruling, Pumphrey said "It’s going to be a tight decision. It’s going to be a tough call, but it’ll be a fascinating one.”
Although when that decision will be made is unknown, Pumphrey believes it’ll be sooner rather than later.
If the court does side with the City of Tallahassee, the names of the officers involved in the deadly shootings would be released.