Florida Senate - 2024                                     SB 350
       By Senator Osgood
       32-00103C-24                                           2024350__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to cold case murders; providing a
    3         short title; creating s. 782.41, F.S.; defining terms;
    4         requiring the heads of law enforcement agencies or
    5         their designees to review certain cold cases upon
    6         receiving a written application from a designated
    7         person; requiring the heads of law enforcement
    8         agencies or their designees to make a specified
    9         determination upon receiving such application;
   10         providing requirements for such reviews; requiring law
   11         enforcement agencies to conduct a full reinvestigation
   12         of a cold case under certain circumstances; providing
   13         requirements for such reinvestigations; requiring law
   14         enforcement agencies to develop certain written
   15         applications; requiring the heads of law enforcement
   16         agencies or their designees to adopt certain
   17         procedures to ensure compliance with specified
   18         provisions; requiring law enforcement agencies to
   19         provide specified training; requiring law enforcement
   20         agencies to provide written confirmation to a
   21         designated person of receipt of an application to
   22         review a cold case; requiring that an application for
   23         review of a cold case that does not satisfy certain
   24         criteria be denied; requiring the head of the law
   25         enforcement agency or his or her designee to issue to
   26         the designated person a written explanation of the
   27         reason or reasons for the denial; providing timeframe
   28         and notice requirements for law enforcement agencies’
   29         cold case reviews after receipt of a written
   30         application; requiring law enforcement agencies, by a
   31         specified date and periodically thereafter, to report
   32         certain data to the Global Forensic and Justice Center
   33         at Florida International University; requiring the
   34         center to establish and maintain a case tracking
   35         system and searchable public website that includes
   36         specified information; requiring coordination between
   37         law enforcement agencies if more than one law
   38         enforcement agency conducted the initial
   39         investigation; providing that specified provisions are
   40         subject to appropriations; providing applicability;
   41         authorizing a medical examiner to issue death
   42         certificates with nonspecific causes of death and
   43         manner of murder under certain circumstances;
   44         providing an effective date.
   46  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   48         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Decker-Backmann
   49  Act.”
   50         Section 2. Section 782.41, Florida Statutes, is created to
   51  read:
   52         782.41Cold case murder; review; reinvestigation.—
   53         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   54         (a)“Cold case” means a murder:
   55         1.For which no likely perpetrator has been identified; and
   56         2.That was committed more than 5 years before the date of
   57  an application requesting a review submitted by a designated
   58  person, that was previously investigated by a law enforcement
   59  agency, and for which all probative leads have been exhausted.
   60         (b)“Designated person” means an immediate family member or
   61  an immediate family member’s designated legal representative,
   62  which representative must be a member in good standing of The
   63  Florida Bar.
   64         (c)“Immediate family member” means a parent, parent-in
   65  law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, sibling, spouse, child, or
   66  stepchild of a victim, or any person who exercised in loco
   67  parentis control over such victim younger than 18 years of age
   68  at the time of the murder.
   69         (d)“Law enforcement agency” means a law enforcement agency
   70  with the jurisdiction to engage in the detection, investigation,
   71  or prosecution of a cold case.
   72         (e)“Murder” means any criminal offense provided under s.
   73  782.04, s. 782.071, or s. 782.072.
   74         (f)“Probative lead” means evidence that is sufficiently
   75  useful to prove an element of the crime and that was not
   76  identified or determined as part of the previous investigation
   77  by a law enforcement agency.
   78         (g)“Victim” means an individual who was murdered and whose
   79  case has been designated as a cold case.
   80         (2)The head of a law enforcement agency or his or her
   81  designee shall review a cold case upon receiving a written
   82  application from a designated person to determine if a full
   83  reinvestigation would result in any of the following:
   84         (a)The identification of new probative leads.
   85         (b)The identification of a likely perpetrator.
   86         (3)A review conducted pursuant to subsection (2) must
   87  include all of the following:
   88         (a)An analysis of any investigative procedures that may
   89  have been absent or missed in the initial investigation.
   90         (b)An assessment of whether witnesses should be
   91  interviewed or reinterviewed.
   92         (c)An examination of physical evidence to determine
   93  whether all appropriate forensic testing and analyses were
   94  performed in the initial investigation and whether additional
   95  testing might produce information relevant to the investigation.
   96         (d)An update of the case file using the most current
   97  investigative standards as of the date of the review, if such
   98  standards may help develop probative leads.
   99         (4)(a)The law enforcement agency must conduct a full
  100  reinvestigation of the cold case if the review pursuant to
  101  subsection (2) concludes that such reinvestigation may result in
  102  previously unidentified probative leads or in the identification
  103  of a likely perpetrator.
  104         (b)A full reinvestigation must include a review of all
  105  available evidence and an analysis of those items that may
  106  contain forensic value which were collected for the purpose of
  107  developing probative leads or identifying a likely perpetrator.
  108         (5)(a)A full reinvestigation required pursuant to
  109  subsection (4) may not be conducted solely by the person who
  110  previously investigated the murder.
  111         (b)Only one full reinvestigation may be undertaken at any
  112  time with respect to the same victim.
  113         (c)If a full reinvestigation is completed and a likely
  114  perpetrator is not identified as a result, an additional case
  115  file review or full reinvestigation may not be undertaken for
  116  that cold case for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of
  117  the conclusion of the reinvestigation, unless materially
  118  significant evidence is discovered.
  119         (6)(a)Each law enforcement agency shall develop a written
  120  application to be used by a designated person to request a cold
  121  case review under subsection (2).
  122         (b)No later than July 1, 2025, the head of each law
  123  enforcement agency or his or her designee shall adopt procedures
  124  to ensure compliance with this section.
  125         (c)Each law enforcement agency shall train the appropriate
  126  law enforcement employees and officers within that law
  127  enforcement agency on the procedures required and the
  128  responsibilities and obligations imposed under this section.
  129         (7)The law enforcement agency, as soon as practicable,
  130  shall provide to the designated person who submitted the
  131  application requesting review of a cold case written
  132  confirmation of receipt of the application. Such confirmation
  133  must include a description of the process for submitting a
  134  complaint to, and contact information for, the law enforcement
  135  agency’s unit responsible for internal investigations involving
  136  allegations of misconduct.
  137         (8)An application for review of a case that does not meet
  138  the criteria for a cold case specified in paragraph (1)(a) must
  139  be denied. If an application is denied, the head of the law
  140  enforcement agency or his or her designee must issue to the
  141  designated person who submitted the application a written
  142  explanation of the reason or reasons for the denial of the
  143  review.
  144         (9)No later than 1 year after receipt of a written
  145  application requesting a cold case review, the law enforcement
  146  agency must complete the case file review and conclude, pursuant
  147  to subsection (2), whether a full reinvestigation as provided in
  148  subsection (4) is warranted.
  149         (10)The law enforcement agency may extend, for one time
  150  only, the time limit provided under subsection (9) for a period
  151  not to exceed 6 months if the law enforcement agency finds that
  152  the number of case files to be reviewed makes compliance with
  153  the time limit impracticable without diverting resources from
  154  other law enforcement activities. If the time limit is extended,
  155  the law enforcement agency must provide notice and an
  156  explanation of its reasoning for the extension to the designated
  157  person who submitted the written application for review.
  158         (11)By October 1, 2025, and at least quarterly thereafter,
  159  each law enforcement agency shall report all data relevant to
  160  the review of cold cases to the Global Forensic and Justice
  161  Center at Florida International University.
  162         (12)The Global Forensic and Justice Center shall establish
  163  and maintain a case tracking system and searchable public
  164  website that includes all of the following information about
  165  cold case investigations covered under this section:
  166         (a)The number of written applications for cold case
  167  reviews filed with each law enforcement agency as provided under
  168  subsection (6).
  169         (b)The number of full reinvestigations initiated and
  170  closed under subsection (9).
  171         (c)The total number of cases in which the time for review
  172  was extended and an explanation of the reasons for any such
  173  extensions under subsection (10).
  174         (d)Statistical information on the aggregate number of cold
  175  cases, suspects, arrests, indictments, and convictions.
  176         (13)If more than one law enforcement agency conducted the
  177  initial investigation of a cold case, each law enforcement
  178  agency must coordinate the case file review or full
  179  reinvestigation such that there is only one joint case file
  180  review or full reinvestigation occurring at a time as required
  181  by paragraph (5)(b).
  182         (14)The operation of this section is subject to the
  183  availability of funds specifically appropriated by the
  184  Legislature or other relevant political subdivision of this
  185  state for this purpose.
  186         (15)This section applies to any cold case in which the
  187  murder occurred on or after January 1, 1970.
  188         (16)A medical examiner may issue a death certificate with
  189  a nonspecific cause of death and manner of murder if the medical
  190  examiner determines that the release of such information would
  191  not hinder the murder investigation.
  192         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2025.