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Jacksonville Injury Lawyers

SELECTED 2013-2020

State of Florida v. Jamell Demons (a.k.a. YNW Melly)

Prominent victim’s rights lawyer, John M. Phillips, represents the family of Christopher Thomas, Jr. On their behalf, Mr. Phillips has filed a Response to Motions filed on behalf of Jamell Demons (a.k.a. YNW Melly) seeking release of Demons for medical reasons, as well as a second opposition to release of Mr. Demon’s co-defendant Cortlen Henry (YNW Bortlen).

We oppose their release and will be exercising rights under Florida’s Constitution to be more involved in the criminal case. It is the first known time a civil lawyer has sought to intervene in a criminal case based on Marsy’s Law, a 2018 Amendment to the Florida Constitution.

Statement (April 16, 2019):

A civil suit will soon be filed against a host of Defendants, including Mr. Demons (a.k.a. Melly) and Mr. Henry (a.k.a. YNW Bortlen). However, we choose to be the first firm to elect to pursue all of the victim’s rights under Marsy’s Law, an Amendment to the Florida Constitution voted in by voters in 2018. We know of no other firm in Florida which has sought to use Marsy’s law to its fullest benefit and are proud Christopher Thomas’s family will be the first. We will seek to attend and be heard at depositions, advocate for victims at each step and make sure justice is fair, firm and full.

We oppose release of Mr. Henry (a.k.a. YNW Bortlen), as is explained in our response. It is preposterous they seek to release him to a “fan” and that defense counsel put that fan’s name, address, phone number and information in the public domain. We again ask the public to be sensitive of the victims here. They lost children. We have further comment at a later date.”

Statement (April 9, 2019):

“A civil suit will soon be filed against a host of Defendants, including Mr. Demons (a.k.a. Melly). However, we are choosing to be the first firm to elect to pursue all of the victim’s rights under Marsy’s Law, an Amendment to the Florida Constitution voted in by voters in 2018. We know of no other firm in Florida which as sought to use Marsy’s law to its fullest benefit and are proud Christopher Thomas’s family will be the first. We will seek to attend and be heard at depositions, advocate for victims at each step and make sure justice is fair, firm and full.

We oppose release of Jamell Demons (YNW Melly), as is explained in the Motion. We again ask the public to be sensitive of the victims here. They lost children. We have further comment at a later date.”

Motion (April 16, 2020):

Here is the Motion filed with the Court on April 16, 2019:

State of Florida v. Cortlen Henry – Victim’s Response and Election of Rights [2]

This Motion is protected by copyright law. Do not use it without the expressed permission of Phillips & Hunt.

Motion (April 9, 2020):

Here is the Motion filed with the Court on April 9, 2019:

State of Florida v. Demons- Victim’s Response and Election of Rights

This Motion is protected by copyright law. Do not use it without the expressed permission of Phillips & Hunt.

About Marsy’s Law:

Marsy’s Law was originally enacted as the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008. It has since expanded to many states, including Florida in 2018. It was named after Marsy Nicholas. Marsy was a senior at U.C. Santa Barbara when she was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Kerry Michael Conley. He was tried by a Los Angeles jury and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 17 years. Her family started a movement for victim’s rights as a result of their march for justice.

Under Article I, Section 16(b), Marsy’s law is designed to, “preserve and protect the rights of crime victims to achieve justice, ensure a meaningful role throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems for crime victims, and ensure that crime victims’ rights and interests are respected and protected by law in a manner no less vigorous than protections afforded to criminal defendants and juvenile delinquents.”

Those words provide intentionally strong rights to victims- “meaningful role throughout… for crime victims” and guarantees, “no less vigorous than the protections afforded to criminal defendants.”

The “automatic” rights of victims include:

    1. The right to due process and to be treated with fairness and respect (Section 16(b)(1));
    2. The right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse (Section 16(b)(2));
    3. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused and any person acting on behalf of the accused (see Section 16(b)(3));
    4. The right to have the safety and welfare of the victim and the victim’s family considered when setting bail, including setting pretrial release conditions that protect the safety and welfare of the victim and the victim’s family(see Section 16(b)(4));
    5. The right to prevent the disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information of the victim (see Section 16(b)(5));
    6. Rights under Section 16(b)(6) if elected (see below);
    7. The right to the prompt return of the victim’s property when no longer needed as evidence (see Section 16(b)(8));
    8. The right to full and timely restitution in every case and from each convicted offender for all losses suffered, both directly and indirectly (see Section 16(b)(9));
    9. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, and to a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings (see Section 16(b)(10)); and
    10. The right to be informed that victims can seek the advice of an attorney with the respect to these rights. (see Section 16(b)(11));

But there are also rights the victim must elect. Specifically, the Constitution mandates, “A victim shall have the following specific rights upon request.”

These secondary rights are:

    1. The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of, and to be present at, all public proceedings involving the criminal conduct, including, but not limited to, trial, plea, sentencing, or adjudication, even if the victim will be a witness at the proceeding, notwithstanding any rule to the contrary. A victim shall also be provided reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any release or escape of the defendant or delinquent, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated.
    2. The right to be heard in any public proceeding involving pretrial or other release from any form of legal constraint, plea, sentencing, adjudication, or parole, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated.
    3. The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney concerning any plea agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs, release, restitution, sentencing, or any other disposition of the case.
    4. The right to provide information regarding the impact of the offender’s conduct on the victim and the victim’s family to the individual responsible for conducting any presentence investigation or compiling any presentence investigation report, and to have any such information considered in any sentencing recommendations submitted to the court.
    5. The right to receive a copy of any presentence report, and any other report or record relevant to the exercise of a victim’s right, except for such portions made confidential or exempt by law.
    6. The right to be informed of the conviction, sentence, adjudication, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the convicted offender, any scheduled release date of the offender, and the release of or the escape of the offender from custody.
    7. The right to be informed of all post-conviction processes and procedures, to participate in such processes and procedures, to provide information to the release authority to be considered before any release decision is made, and to be notified of any release decision regarding the offender. The parole or early release authority shall extend the right to be heard to any person harmed by the offender.
    8. The right to be informed of clemency and expungement procedures, to provide information to the governor, the court, any clemency board, and other authority in these procedures, and to have that information considered before a clemency or expungement decision is made; and to be notified of such decision in advance of any release of the offender.

Sharable JPG’s of Henry Motion:

Sharable JPG’s of Demon Motion: