Senator Stewart, District 17 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2024
Retention of Sexual Offense Evidence Bill by Senator Stewart Passes Second Committee
Tallahassee, FL – Today, bill SB 764, sponsored by Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) and pertaining to the retention of sexual offense evidence, passed unanimously through its second committee. The bill will be heard next in the Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee. The House companion to this bill is ready to be heard in its final committee in the House.
Currently, DNA evidence collected in sexual offense investigations must be submitted to a statewide criminal analysis laboratory system for forensic testing within 30 days after receipt by law enforcement, or after a request for testing is made by either the involved medical provider or law enforcement agency.
SB 764, which was requested by FDLE, builds on this existing system by allowing for DNA evidence to be safely retained for 50 years after collection in the event that the victim has chosen not to make a report to law enforcement. This evidence must be stored anonymously with a documented chain of custody, allowing the victim time to choose to report.
“The victims of these traumatic incidents may not want anyone to know what has happened to them. In the event that a victim has decided they want to prosecute in the future, there will be evidence that they can go back to for prosecution. Nobody will know the name of who that evidence is being kept for. It’s possible that other crimes can be solved with this evidence, and the chain of custody will be secure for any victim seeking justice,” said Stewart.