Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1048
       By Senator Pizzo
       38-01729-20                                           20201048__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to courtroom animal advocates;
    3         creating s. 828.035, F.S.; providing for appointment
    4         of an advocate for the interests of an animal in
    5         certain court proceedings, at the discretion of the
    6         court; providing powers and duties of such advocates;
    7         requiring the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar to
    8         maintain a list of attorneys and certified legal
    9         interns meeting specified requirements who are
   10         eligible to be appointed as such advocates; specifying
   11         that certain rules of The Florida Bar govern such
   12         advocates; providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Section 828.035, Florida Statutes, is created to
   17  read:
   18         828.035Courtroom animal advocates.—
   19         (1)In any prosecution or other court proceeding under this
   20  chapter, s. 413.081, or s. 843.19 or in any other civil or
   21  criminal proceeding regarding the welfare, care, or custody of
   22  an animal, the court may appoint, upon its own initiative or
   23  upon request of a party, an advocate to represent the interests
   24  of the animal, whether living or dead.
   25         (2)When a court orders that an advocate be appointed to
   26  represent the interests of an animal, the court may appoint such
   27  advocate from a list provided to the court by the Animal Law
   28  Section of The Florida Bar of designated attorneys and certified
   29  legal interns, pursuant to subsections (3) and (4). The court
   30  has discretion to appoint or remove the advocate. The decision
   31  by a court to appoint an advocate to represent the interests of
   32  the animal may be made at any stage of proceedings.
   33         (3)(a)An advocate shall:
   34         1.Monitor the case.
   35         2.Have access to relevant files, documents, and reports
   36  related to the case.
   37         3.Share with attorneys for the parties any information new
   38  to the case or prepared by the advocate for presentation to the
   39  court or a party.
   40         4.Present information and recommendations to the court
   41  pertinent to determinations that relate to the interests of the
   42  animal in question, provided such information and
   43  recommendations result from executing the duties undertaken
   44  pursuant to this subsection. Such information and
   45  recommendations may be based upon the knowledge and experience
   46  of the advocate or another specialist with specific knowledge
   47  and experience related to the type of the animal involved in the
   48  case.
   49         (b)An advocate may:
   50         1.Consult any individual with information that could aid
   51  the judge or fact finder.
   52         2.Review records relating to the animal’s condition and
   53  the defendant’s actions, including, but not limited to, records
   54  from animal control officers, veterinarians, and police
   55  officers.
   56         3.Attend hearings in person or via other means.
   57         4.Provide a victim impact statement to the court, as
   58  needed and appropriate.
   59         (4)(a)The Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar shall
   60  maintain a list of attorneys and certified legal interns who
   61  have indicated a willingness to serve as advocates under this
   62  section on a voluntary basis, and are eligible to do so.
   63         (b)In order to be eligible to serve as an advocate,
   64  attorneys and certified legal interns must:
   65         1.Be authorized to make court appearances in Florida.
   66         2.Have completed training as required by The Animal Law
   67  Section of The Florida Bar.
   68         (c)The Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar may establish
   69  training requirements for persons to serve as advocates, and the
   70  rules of professional conduct govern attorneys and certified
   71  legal interns operating as advocates under this section.
   72         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.