JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Who is at fault when someone is killed in Florida?
One victim’s rights group says that the answer is more than just the person who committed the violent crime.
Right now there are multiple bills being reviewed in the Florida Legislature that remove liability against owners of apartment complexes and other businesses if violent crimes are committed on their property. One of the bills would also reduce the statute of limitations for filing claims of negligent actions and the group says that’s not fair to families of the victims.
“Victims are left holding the bag to financially make up for the harm they incurred through the crime,” said Iva Rody, Chief Program Officer for the National Center for Victims of Crime.
When a crime scene is cleared, the pain still remains for families of the victim. Families of victims of violent crimes as well as victim advocates met in Jacksonville to describe their opposition to House Bills 1165 and 837.
House Bill 1165 provides owners of multifamily complexes with a presumption against liability provided that the facility has a security camera system at entrances and exits, lighted parking lots and common areas, 1 inch deadbolts on dwelling doors, locking devices on windows and peepholes in dwelling doors.
Rody is opposed to these bills.
“It does trample on crime victim’s rights to be made whole,” said Rody, “and it’s not just with the offender, whenever anybody has some fault there should be opportunity for them to help make the crime victim whole for not doing their part.”
Mary Scriber’s son Brandon was shot and killed in Jacksonville in 2013
“He liked writing, he liked drawing, sketching,” recalled Scriber about her son, “he’s a family man, he loved his children, his children came first.”
Scriber carries a picture of her murdered son with her every day and helped raise his young sons after he was killed.
“They want to know why a person took their father’s life,” said Scriber, “what did he do that was wrong? They still ask me questions, sometimes I get stumped.”
Scriber doesn’t want doors to close on financial avenues of restitution for other families after their loved ones are killed. She and opponents of these bills feel that there should not be limits on who can be found responsible for damages in instances of violent crimes.