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2011 Florida Statutes

Chapter 914
WITNESSES; CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER 914
CHAPTER 914
WITNESSES; CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
914.001 Witnesses; subpoenas to run throughout the state; all names to be included in one subpoena.
914.03 Attendance of witnesses.
914.04 Witnesses; person not excused from testifying or producing evidence in certain prosecutions on ground testimony might incriminate him or her; use of testimony given or evidence produced.
914.05 Compelled testimony tending to incriminate witness; immunity.
914.07 Competency of evidence.
914.11 Indigent defendants.
914.12 Memorandum of recognizance of witness; removal for violation.
914.13 Commitment for perjury.
914.14 Witnesses accepting bribes.
914.15 Law enforcement officers; nondisclosure of personal information.
914.16 Child abuse and sexual abuse of victims under age 16 or persons with mental retardation; limits on interviews.
914.17 Appointment of advocate for victims or witnesses who are minors or persons with mental retardation.
914.21 Definitions.
914.22 Tampering with or harassing a witness, victim, or informant; penalties.
914.23 Retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant.
914.24 Civil action to restrain harassment of a victim or witness.
914.25 Protective services for certain victims and witnesses.
914.27 Confidentiality of victim and witness information.
914.28 Confidential informants.
914.001 Witnesses; subpoenas to run throughout the state; all names to be included in one subpoena.
(1) Subpoenas for witnesses in criminal cases shall run throughout the state and be directed to all of the sheriffs of the state.
(2) When possible, the names of all witnesses summoned for, or at the cost of, the state in a criminal case shall be included in one subpoena, and the prosecuting officer shall, when possible, include the names of all such witnesses in one praecipe for such subpoena.
History.s. 2, ch. 871, 1859; ss. 2, 4, 6, ch. 3702, 1887; RS 2859, 2860; GS 3915, 3916; RGS 6013, 6014; CGL 8307, 8308; s. 94, ch. 70-339.
Note.Former s. 932.25.
914.03 Attendance of witnesses.A witness summoned by a grand jury or in a criminal case shall remain in attendance until excused by the court. A witness who departs without permission of the court shall be in criminal contempt of court. A witness shall attend each succeeding term of court until the case is terminated.
History.s. 4, ch. 159, 1843; s. 2, ch. 2094, 1877; RS 2862; GS 3918; RGS 6016; CGL 8310; s. 96, ch. 70-339.
Note.Former s. 932.28.
914.04 Witnesses; person not excused from testifying or producing evidence in certain prosecutions on ground testimony might incriminate him or her; use of testimony given or evidence produced.No person who has been duly served with a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum shall be excused from attending and testifying or producing any book, paper, or other document before any court having felony trial jurisdiction, grand jury, or state attorney upon investigation, proceeding, or trial for a violation of any of the criminal statutes of this state upon the ground or for the reason that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of the person may tend to convict him or her of a crime or to subject him or her to a penalty or forfeiture, but no testimony so given or evidence so produced shall be received against the person upon any criminal investigation or proceeding. Such testimony or evidence, however, may be received against the person upon any criminal investigation or proceeding for perjury committed while giving such testimony or producing such evidence or for any perjury subsequently committed.
History.s. 1, ch. 5400, 1905; s. 1, ch. 7850, 1919; RGS 6017; CGL 8311; s. 1, ch. 69-316; s. 97, ch. 70-339; s. 1, ch. 71-99; s. 36, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 82-393; s. 175, ch. 83-216; s. 1, ch. 85-41; s. 1522, ch. 97-102.
Note.Former s. 932.29.
914.05 Compelled testimony tending to incriminate witness; immunity.The testimony or evidence of a witness who has been ordered by a court of the United States to testify or produce evidence regarding treason, sabotage, espionage, or seditious conspiracy against the United States, after claiming her or his privilege against self-incrimination, shall not subsequently be used against the witness in a criminal prosecution in this state. A witness shall not be exempt from prosecution for perjury committed while giving testimony or producing evidence under compulsion as provided in this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 29987, 1955; s. 98, ch. 70-339; s. 1523, ch. 97-102.
Note.Former s. 932.291.
914.07 Competency of evidence.Except as otherwise provided, the law regarding competency of evidence and witnesses in civil cases shall apply in criminal cases.
History.RS 2863; GS 3919; RGS 6018; CGL 8312; s. 100, ch. 70-339.
Note.Former s. 932.31.
914.11 Indigent defendants.If a defendant in a criminal case is indigent pursuant to s. 27.52 and presently unable to pay the cost of procuring the attendance of witnesses, the defendant may seek a deferral of these costs; however, the defendant may subpoena the witnesses, and the costs, including the cost of the defendant’s copy of all depositions and transcripts which are certified by the defendant’s attorney as serving a useful purpose in the disposition of the case, shall be paid by the state. When depositions are taken outside the circuit in which the case is pending, travel expenses shall be paid by the state in accordance with s. 112.061 and shall also be taxed as costs payable to the state.
History.ss. 2, 4, ch. 3702, 1887; s. 1, ch. 3719, 1887; RS 2867, 2868; s. 1, ch. 5133, 1903; GS 3923, 3924; RGS 6022, 6023; CGL 8316, 8317; s. 104, ch. 70-339; s. 4, ch. 82-176; s. 6, ch. 85-213; s. 119, ch. 2003-402.
Note.Former ss. 932.36, 932.37.
914.12 Memorandum of recognizance of witness; removal for violation.When a county court judge recognizes a witness to appear before the grand jury, the judge shall give the witness a written memorandum stating that the witness is required to appear before the grand jury and the date when the grand jury will meet. An intentional failure of a county court judge to comply with this section, on recommendation of the grand jury, shall subject the judge to suspension from office by the Governor.
History.s. 1, ch. 2096, 1877; RS 2880; ss. 1-3, ch. 5401, 1905; GS 3939; RGS 6041; CGL 8342; s. 105, ch. 70-339; s. 38, ch. 73-334; s. 1524, ch. 97-102.
Note.Former s. 932.40.
914.13 Commitment for perjury.When a court of record has reason to believe that a witness or party who has been legally sworn and examined or has made an affidavit in a proceeding has committed perjury, the court may immediately commit the person or take a recognizance with sureties for the person’s appearance to answer the charge of perjury. Witnesses who are present may be recognized to the proper court, and the state attorney shall be given notice of the proceedings.
History.s. 15, ch. 1637, 1868; RS 2882; GS 3941; RGS 6043; CGL 8344; s. 106, ch. 70-339; s. 38, ch. 73-334; s. 1525, ch. 97-102.
Note.Former s. 932.41.
914.14 Witnesses accepting bribes.
(1) It is unlawful for any person who is a witness in a proceeding instituted by a duly constituted prosecuting authority of this state to solicit, request, accept, or agree to accept any money or anything of value as an inducement to:
(a) Testify or inform falsely; or
(b) Withhold any testimony, information, document, or thing.
(2) Any person violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 4, ch. 72-315.
914.15 Law enforcement officers; nondisclosure of personal information.Any law enforcement officer of the state or of any political subdivision thereof who provides information relative to a criminal investigation or in proceedings preliminary to a criminal case may refuse, unless ordered by the court, to disclose his or her residence address, home telephone number, or any personal information concerning the officer’s family. Any law enforcement officer who testifies as a witness in a criminal case may refuse to disclose personal information concerning his or her family unless it is determined by the court that such evidence is relevant to the case.
History.s. 1, ch. 79-60; s. 1526, ch. 97-102.
914.16 Child abuse and sexual abuse of victims under age 16 or persons with mental retardation; limits on interviews.The chief judge of each judicial circuit, after consultation with the state attorney and the public defender for the judicial circuit, the appropriate chief law enforcement officer, and any other person deemed appropriate by the chief judge, shall provide by order reasonable limits on the number of interviews that a victim of a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.04, s. 827.03, or s. 847.0135(5) who is under 16 years of age or a victim of a violation of s. 794.011, s. 800.02, s. 800.03, or s. 825.102 who is a person with mental retardation as defined in s. 393.063 must submit to for law enforcement or discovery purposes. The order shall, to the extent possible, protect the victim from the psychological damage of repeated interrogations while preserving the rights of the public, the victim, and the person charged with the violation.
History.s. 7, ch. 84-86; s. 2, ch. 90-120; s. 19, ch. 93-156; s. 24, ch. 94-154; s. 18, ch. 95-158; s. 3, ch. 96-215; s. 26, ch. 96-322; s. 107, ch. 99-3; s. 9, ch. 99-201; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 6, ch. 2000-338; s. 94, ch. 2004-267; s. 22, ch. 2008-172.
914.17 Appointment of advocate for victims or witnesses who are minors or persons with mental retardation.
(1) A guardian ad litem or other advocate shall be appointed by the court to represent a minor in any criminal proceeding if the minor is a victim of or witness to child abuse or neglect, or if the minor is a victim of a sexual offense or a witness to a sexual offense committed against another minor. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or other advocate in any other criminal proceeding in which a minor is involved as either a victim or a witness. The guardian ad litem or other advocate shall have full access to all evidence and reports introduced during the proceedings, may interview witnesses, may make recommendations to the court, shall be noticed and have the right to appear on behalf of the minor at all proceedings, and may request additional examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. It is the duty of the guardian ad litem or other advocate to perform the following services:
(a) To explain, in language understandable to the minor, all legal proceedings in which the minor shall be involved;
(b) To act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge, whenever appropriate, of the minor’s ability to understand and cooperate with any court proceeding; and
(c) To assist the minor and the minor’s family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings in which the minor is involved.
(2) An advocate shall be appointed by the court to represent a person with mental retardation as defined in s. 393.063 in any criminal proceeding if the person with mental retardation is a victim of or witness to abuse or neglect, or if the person with mental retardation is a victim of a sexual offense or a witness to a sexual offense committed against a minor or person with mental retardation. The court may appoint an advocate in any other criminal proceeding in which a person with mental retardation is involved as either a victim or a witness. The advocate shall have full access to all evidence and reports introduced during the proceedings, may interview witnesses, may make recommendations to the court, shall be noticed and have the right to appear on behalf of the person with mental retardation at all proceedings, and may request additional examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. It is the duty of the advocate to perform the following services:
(a) To explain, in language understandable to the person with mental retardation, all legal proceedings in which the person shall be involved;
(b) To act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge, whenever appropriate, of the person with mental retardation’s ability to understand and cooperate with any court proceedings; and
(c) To assist the person with mental retardation and the person’s family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings in which the person with mental retardation is involved.
(3) Any person participating in a judicial proceeding as a guardian ad litem or other advocate shall be presumed prima facie to be acting in good faith and in so doing shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might be incurred or imposed.
History.s. 58, ch. 88-381; s. 25, ch. 94-154; s. 18, ch. 97-93; s. 108, ch. 99-3; s. 7, ch. 2000-338; s. 95, ch. 2004-267.
914.21 Definitions.As used in ss. 914.22-914.24, the term:
(1) “Bodily injury” means:
(a) A cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, or disfigurement;
(b) Physical pain;
(c) Illness;
(d) Impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; or
(e) Any other injury to the body, no matter how temporary.
(2) “Misleading conduct” means:
(a) Knowingly making a false statement;
(b) Intentionally omitting information from a statement and thereby causing a portion of such statement to be misleading, or intentionally concealing a material fact and thereby creating a false impression by such statement;
(c) With intent to mislead, knowingly submitting or inviting reliance on a writing or recording that is false, forged, altered, or otherwise lacking in authenticity;
(d) With intent to mislead, knowingly submitting or inviting reliance on a sample, specimen, map, photograph, boundary mark, or other object that is misleading in a material respect; or
(e) Knowingly using a trick, scheme, or device with intent to mislead.
(3) “Official investigation” means any investigation instituted by a law enforcement agency or prosecuting officer of the state or a political subdivision of the state or the Commission on Ethics.
(4) “Official proceeding” means:
(a) A proceeding before a judge or court or a grand jury;
(b) A proceeding before the Legislature;
(c) A proceeding before a federal agency that is authorized by law; or
(d) A proceeding before the Commission on Ethics.
(5) “Physical force” means physical action against another and includes confinement.
History.s. 13, ch. 84-363; s. 3, ch. 88-96; s. 16, ch. 2006-275.
914.22 Tampering with or harassing a witness, victim, or informant; penalties.
(1) A person who knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, or threatens another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, or offers pecuniary benefit or gain to another person, with intent to cause or induce any person to:
(a) Withhold testimony, or withhold a record, document, or other object, from an official investigation or official proceeding;
(b) Alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official investigation or official proceeding;
(c) Evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness, or to produce a record, document, or other object, in an official investigation or an official proceeding;
(d) Be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been summoned by legal process;
(e) Hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense or a violation of a condition of probation, parole, or release pending a judicial proceeding; or
(f) Testify untruthfully in an official investigation or an official proceeding,

commits the crime of tampering with a witness, victim, or informant.

(2) Tampering with a witness, victim, or informant is a:
(a) Felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a misdemeanor.
(b) Felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a third degree felony.
(c) Felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a second degree felony.
(d) Felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a first degree felony or a first degree felony punishable by a term of years not exceeding life.
(e) Life felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a life or capital felony.
(f) Felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the offense level of the affected official investigation or official proceeding is indeterminable or where the affected official investigation or official proceeding involves a noncriminal investigation or proceeding.
(3) Whoever intentionally harasses another person and thereby hinders, delays, prevents, or dissuades any person from:
(a) Attending or testifying in an official proceeding or cooperating in an official investigation;
(b) Reporting to a law enforcement officer or judge the commission or possible commission of an offense or a violation of a condition of probation, parole, or release pending a judicial proceeding;
(c) Arresting or seeking the arrest of another person in connection with an offense; or
(d) Causing a criminal prosecution, or a parole or probation revocation proceeding, to be sought or instituted, or from assisting in such prosecution or proceeding;

or attempts to do so, commits the crime of harassing a witness, victim, or informant.

(4) Harassing a witness, victim, or informant is a:
(a) Misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a misdemeanor.
(b) Felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a third degree felony.
(c) Felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a second degree felony.
(d) Felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a first degree felony.
(e) Felony of the first degree, punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the official investigation or official proceeding affected involves the investigation or prosecution of a felony of the first degree punishable by a term of years not exceeding life or a prosecution of a life or capital felony.
(f) Felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, where the offense level of the affected official investigation or official proceeding is indeterminable or where the affected official investigation or official proceeding involves a noncriminal investigation or proceeding.
(5) For the purposes of this section:
(a) An official proceeding need not be pending or about to be instituted at the time of the offense; and
(b) The testimony or the record, document, or other object need not be admissible in evidence or free of a claim of privilege.
(6) In a prosecution for an offense under this section, no state of mind need be proved with respect to the circumstance:
(a) That the official proceeding before a judge, court, grand jury, or government agency is before a judge or court of the state, a state or local grand jury, or a state agency; or
(b) That the judge is a judge of the state or that the law enforcement officer is an officer or employee of the state or a person authorized to act for or on behalf of the state or serving the state as an adviser or consultant.
History.s. 3, ch. 72-315; s. 44, ch. 75-298; s. 14, ch. 84-363; s. 4, ch. 88-96; s. 12, ch. 91-223; s. 225, ch. 91-224; s. 1, ch. 92-281; s. 33, ch. 2004-11; s. 19, ch. 2008-238.
Note.Former s. 918.14.
914.23 Retaliating against a witness, victim, or informant.A person who knowingly engages in any conduct that causes bodily injury to another person or damages the tangible property of another person, or threatens to do so, with intent to retaliate against any person for:
(1) The attendance of a witness or party at an official proceeding, or for any testimony given or any record, document, or other object produced by a witness in an official proceeding; or
(2) Any information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense or a violation of a condition of probation, parole, or release pending a judicial proceeding given by a person to a law enforcement officer;

or attempts to do so, is guilty of a criminal offense. If the conduct results in bodily injury, such person is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Otherwise, such person is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.s. 15, ch. 84-363; s. 45, ch. 87-243.
914.24 Civil action to restrain harassment of a victim or witness.
(1)(a) A circuit court, upon application of the state attorney, shall issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting the harassment of a victim or witness in a criminal case if the court finds, from specific facts shown by affidavit or by verified complaint, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that harassment of an identified victim or witness in a criminal case exists or that such order is necessary to prevent and restrain an offense under s. 914.22, other than an offense consisting of misleading conduct, or to prevent and restrain an offense under s. 914.23.
(b)1. A temporary restraining order may be issued under this section without written or oral notice to the adverse party or such party’s attorney in a civil action under this section if the court finds, upon written certification of facts by the state attorney, that such notice should not be required and that there is a reasonable probability that the state will prevail on the merits. The temporary restraining order shall set forth the reasons for the issuance of such order, be specific in terms, and describe in reasonable detail, and not by reference to the complaint or other document, the act or acts being restrained.
2. A temporary restraining order issued without notice under this section shall be endorsed with the date and hour of issuance and be filed forthwith in the office of the clerk of the court issuing the order.
3. A temporary restraining order issued under this section shall expire at such time as the court directs, not to exceed 10 days from issuance. The court, for good cause shown before expiration of such order, may extend the expiration date of the order for up to 10 days or for a longer period agreed to by the adverse party.
4. When a temporary restraining order is issued without notice, the motion for a protective order shall be set down for hearing at the earliest possible time and takes precedence over all matters except older matters of the same character; and, if the state attorney does not proceed with the application for a protective order when such motion comes on for hearing, the court shall dissolve the temporary restraining order.
5. If, on 2 days’ notice to the state attorney or on such shorter notice as the court may prescribe, the adverse party appears and moves to dissolve or modify the temporary restraining order, the court shall proceed to hear and determine such motion as expeditiously as the ends of justice require.
(2)(a) A circuit court, upon motion of the state attorney, shall issue a protective order prohibiting the harassment of a victim or witness in a criminal case if the court, after a hearing, finds by a preponderance of the evidence that harassment of an identified victim or witness in a criminal case exists or that such order is necessary to prevent and restrain an offense under s. 914.22, other than an offense consisting of misleading conduct, or to prevent and restrain an offense under s. 914.23.
(b) At the hearing referred to in paragraph (a), any adverse party named in the complaint has the right to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
(c) A protective order shall set forth the reasons for the issuance of such order, be specific in terms, and describe in reasonable detail, and not by reference to the complaint or other document, the act or acts being restrained.
(d) The court shall set the duration of the protective order for such period as it determines is necessary to prevent the harassment of the victim or witness but in no case shall the duration be set for a period in excess of 3 years from the date of the issuance of the order. The state attorney may, at any time within 90 days before the expiration of such order, apply for a new protective order under this section.
(3) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Harassment” means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that:
1. Causes substantial emotional distress in such person; and
2. Serves no legitimate purpose.
(b) “Course of conduct” means a series of acts over a period of time, however short, indicating a continuity of purpose.
(4) Nothing in this section precludes a court from entering any other order or remedy which may be appropriate in the circumstances.
History.s. 16, ch. 84-363; s. 2, ch. 92-281; s. 20, ch. 2010-117.
914.25 Protective services for certain victims and witnesses.
(1) For purposes of this section, the term:
(a) “Victim or witness at risk of harm” means a victim or witness who, as a result of cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of a serious felony offense, has been subjected to violence or other forms of intimidation, or who is the subject of a substantial threat to commit violence. The term also includes a member of the victim’s or witness’s immediate family.
(b) “Serious felony offense” means one of the following offenses, including an attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit one of the following offenses: murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, aggravated stalking, aggravated battery, carjacking, home invasion robbery, burglary, arson, robbery, kidnapping, racketeering, or trafficking in a controlled substance.
(2) A law enforcement agency is hereby authorized to provide protective services, including temporary relocation services, to a victim or witness at risk of harm. Protective and temporary relocation services, as deemed appropriate, shall be provided pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(3)(a) The statewide prosecutor, any state attorney, or any law enforcement officer may identify a victim or witness as a victim or witness at risk of harm. Upon such identification, the statewide prosecutor, the state attorney, or the law enforcement officer must notify either the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney who has jurisdiction over the criminal investigation or prosecution, if necessary.
(b) The statewide prosecutor or the state attorney, as appropriate, may determine whether an identified victim or witness at risk of harm is critical to a criminal investigation or prosecution. If the victim or witness at risk of harm is deemed critical, the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney may:
1. Certify that the victim or witness receive protective services; or
2. If the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney finds a compelling need to temporarily relocate the victim or witness, certify that the victim or witness receive protective services, including temporary relocation services.
(4)(a) When a victim or witness is certified as provided in subsection (3), a law enforcement agency, in consultation with the certifying state attorney or the statewide prosecutor, may provide appropriate protective services. If a victim or witness needs to be temporarily relocated, the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney must notify the Department of Law Enforcement. The Department of Law Enforcement, in consultation with the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney, and any other law enforcement agency involved in the criminal investigation or prosecution, shall coordinate the temporary relocation of the victim or witness.
(b) Protective services, including temporary relocation services, may initially be provided for up to 1 year or until the risk giving rise to the certification has diminished, whichever occurs sooner. The statewide prosecutor or the state attorney may, at the end of the certification year, recertify a victim or witness at risk of harm for an additional period of up to 1 year or until the risk giving rise to the certification has diminished, whichever occurs first. A victim or witness at risk of harm may be certified and recertified annually as provided in this section to provide a maximum of 4 years of eligibility for protective services.
(5) The lead law enforcement agency that provides protective services, as authorized in this section, may seek reimbursement for its reasonable expenses from the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee, pursuant to s. 943.031. This section does not prevent any law enforcement agency from providing protective services at the agency’s expense beyond the 4-year maximum period established in this section. Any such additional expenditures for protective services are not eligible for the reimbursement provided in this section.
(6) The statewide prosecutor, any state attorney, or any law enforcement officer, acting in good faith in determining eligibility for victim and witness protective services, including temporary relocation services, or in providing such services, is immune from civil liability.
History.s. 1, ch. 97-52; s. 1, ch. 98-96; s. 2, ch. 2006-176.
914.27 Confidentiality of victim and witness information.
(1) Information held by any state or local law enforcement agency, state attorney, the statewide prosecutor, the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee created pursuant to s. 943.031, or the Department of Law Enforcement which discloses:
(a) The identity or location of a victim or witness who has been identified or certified for protective or relocation services pursuant to s. 914.25;
(b) The identity or location of an immediate family member of a victim or witness who has been identified or certified pursuant to s. 914.25;
(c) Relocation sites, techniques, or procedures utilized or developed as a result of the victim and witness protective services afforded by s. 914.25; or
(d) The identity or relocation site of any victim, witness, or immediate family member of a victim or witness who has made a relocation of permanent residence by reason of the victim’s or witness’s involvement in the investigation or prosecution giving rise to certification for protective or relocation services pursuant to s. 914.25;

is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. Such information may be shared by law enforcement agencies, state attorneys, and the statewide prosecutor to facilitate the protective or relocation services provided pursuant to s. 914.25 and to support the prosecution efforts of the state attorneys and the statewide prosecutor. Any information so shared must remain confidential and exempt in the hands of any agency or entity to which the information is provided.

(2) If a victim or witness is identified for protective services under s. 914.25 and is later denied certification, the identity and location information exempt pursuant to paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) becomes public information, unless otherwise provided by law.
(3) If a victim or witness is certified for protective services, information made confidential and exempt from public disclosure under paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) becomes public information, unless otherwise provided by law, at the time such certification expires, unless the state attorney or statewide prosecutor making such certification complies with the provisions of subsection (4).
(4) The certifying state attorney or statewide prosecutor may state in writing to the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee established pursuant to s. 943.031 that even though certification for participation in the victim or witness protective services program is about to expire, disclosure of information made confidential and exempt by paragraph (1)(a) or paragraph (1)(b) continues to constitute an unwarranted risk to, or jeopardizes the safety of, victims, witnesses, or family members of such victims or witnesses. Accordingly, the confidential and exempt status of such information shall continue until the certifying state attorney or statewide prosecutor determines that disclosure of such information would not constitute an unwarranted risk to, or jeopardize the safety of, such persons, and provides written notification to that effect to the Victim and Witness Protection Review Committee.
(5) For the purposes of effectively implementing s. 914.25, any state or local law enforcement agency, state attorney, or the statewide prosecutor may provide written notification to an agency as defined in s. 119.011 or to a business entity operating under contract with, licensed by, or having any other business relationship with an agency, or providing services pursuant to s. 914.25, that information described in subsection (1) held by that agency or business is confidential and exempt from public disclosure. The state or local law enforcement agency, state attorney, or the statewide prosecutor providing such written notification shall also provide written notification to the agency or business as to when, in accordance with this section, identity and location information exempted pursuant to paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) can be made publicly available.
History.s. 1, ch. 97-71; s. 29, ch. 2001-64; s. 1, ch. 2002-40.
914.28 Confidential informants.
(1) This section may be cited as “Rachel’s Law.”
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Confidential informant” means a person who cooperates with a law enforcement agency confidentially in order to protect the person or the agency’s intelligence gathering or investigative efforts and:
1. Seeks to avoid arrest or prosecution for a crime, or mitigate punishment for a crime in which a sentence will be or has been imposed; and
2. Is able, by reason of his or her familiarity or close association with suspected criminals, to:
a. Make a controlled buy or controlled sale of contraband, controlled substances, or other items that are material to a criminal investigation;
b. Supply regular or constant information about suspected or actual criminal activities to a law enforcement agency; or
c. Otherwise provide information important to ongoing criminal intelligence gathering or criminal investigative efforts.
(b) “Controlled buy” means the purchase of contraband, controlled substances, or other items that are material to a criminal investigation from a target offender which is initiated, managed, overseen, or participated in by law enforcement personnel with the knowledge of a confidential informant.
(c) “Controlled sale” means the sale of contraband, controlled substances, or other items that are material to a criminal investigation to a target offender which is initiated, managed, overseen, or participated in by law enforcement personnel with the knowledge of a confidential informant.
(d) “Law enforcement agency” means an agency having a primary mission of preventing and detecting crime and the enforcement of the penal, criminal, traffic, or highway laws of the state and that in furtherance of that primary mission employs law enforcement officers as defined in s. 943.10.
(e) “Target offender” means the person suspected by law enforcement personnel to be implicated in criminal acts by the activities of a confidential informant.
(3) A law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants shall:
(a) Inform each person who is requested to serve as a confidential informant that the agency cannot promise inducements such as a grant of immunity, dropped or reduced charges, or reduced sentences or placement on probation in exchange for serving as a confidential informant.
(b) Inform each person who is requested to serve as a confidential informant that the value of his or her assistance as a confidential informant and any effect that assistance may have on pending criminal matters can be determined only by the appropriate legal authority.
(c) Provide a person who is requested to serve as a confidential informant with an opportunity to consult with legal counsel upon request before the person agrees to perform any activities as a confidential informant. However, this section does not create a right to publicly funded legal counsel.
(d) Ensure that all personnel who are involved in the use or recruitment of confidential informants are trained in the law enforcement agency’s policies and procedures. The agency shall keep documentation demonstrating the date of such training.
(e) Adopt policies and procedures that assign the highest priority in operational decisions and actions to the preservation of the safety of confidential informants, law enforcement personnel, target offenders, and the public.
(4) A law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants shall establish policies and procedures addressing the recruitment, control, and use of confidential informants. The policies and procedures must state the:
(a) Information that the law enforcement agency shall maintain concerning each confidential informant;
(b) General guidelines for handling confidential informants;
(c) Process to advise a confidential informant of conditions, restrictions, and procedures associated with participating in the agency’s investigative or intelligence gathering activities;
(d) Designated supervisory or command-level review and oversight in the use of a confidential informant;
(e) Limits or restrictions on off-duty association or social relationships by agency personnel involved in investigative or intelligence gathering with confidential informants;
(f) Guidelines to deactivate confidential informants, including guidelines for deactivating communications with confidential informants; and
(g) Level of supervisory approval required before a juvenile is used as a confidential informant.
(5) A law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants shall establish policies and procedures to assess the suitability of using a person as a confidential informant by considering the minimum following factors:
(a) The person’s age and maturity;
(b) The risk the person poses to adversely affect a present or potential investigation or prosecution;
(c) The effect upon agency efforts that the disclosure of the person’s cooperation in the community may have;
(d) Whether the person is a substance abuser or has a history of substance abuse or is in a court-supervised drug treatment program;
(e) The risk of physical harm to the person, his or her immediate family, or close associates as a result of providing information or assistance, or upon the disclosure of the person’s assistance to the community;
(f) Whether the person has shown any indication of emotional instability, unreliability, or of furnishing false information;
(g) The person’s criminal history or prior criminal record; and
(h) Whether the use of the person is important to or vital to the success of an investigation.
(6) A law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants shall establish written security procedures that, at a minimum:
(a) Provide for the secured retention of any records related to the law enforcement agency’s confidential sources, including access to files identifying the identity of confidential sources;
(b) Limit availability to records relating to confidential informants to those within the law enforcement agency or law enforcement community having a need to know or review those records, or to those whose access has been required by court process or order;
(c) Require notation of each person who accesses such records and the date that the records are accessed;
(d) Provide for review and oversight by the law enforcement agency to ensure that the security procedures are followed; and
(e) Define the process by which records concerning a confidential informant may be lawfully destroyed.
(7) A state or local law enforcement agency that uses confidential informants shall perform a periodic review of actual agency confidential informant practices to ensure conformity with the agency’s policies and procedures and this section.
(8) The provisions of this section and policies and procedures adopted pursuant to this section do not grant any right or entitlement to a confidential informant or a person who is requested to be a confidential informant, and any failure to abide by this section may not be relied upon to create any additional right, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a defendant in a criminal proceeding.
History.s. 1, ch. 2009-33.