Florida Senate - 2024                              CS for SB 350
       By the Committee on Criminal Justice; and Senators Osgood,
       Martin, Powell, Polsky, Garcia, Berman, Thompson, and Yarborough
       591-02643-24                                           2024350c1
    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; authorizing the denial of an
   23         application for review of a cold case that does not
   24         satisfy certain criteria; requiring the head of the
   25         law enforcement agency or his or her designee to issue
   26         to 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 the center to create
   37         and publish on its searchable public website a list of
   38         certain resources; requiring coordination between law
   39         enforcement agencies if more than one law enforcement
   40         agency conducted the initial investigation;
   41         authorizing law enforcement agencies to request
   42         investigative assistance from the Department of Law
   43         Enforcement to complete cold case reviews or
   44         reinvestigations; requiring that such requests be in
   45         writing; providing that specified provisions are
   46         subject to appropriations; providing applicability;
   47         providing an effective date.
   49  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   51         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Decker-Backmann
   52  Act.”
   53         Section 2. Section 782.41, Florida Statutes, is created to
   54  read:
   55         782.41Cold case murder; review; reinvestigation.—
   56         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   57         (a)“Cold case” means a murder, for which:
   58         1.No likely perpetrator has been identified; and
   59         2.At least 5 years have passed since it was committed,
   60  including the date of an application requesting a review
   61  submitted by a designated person, and the murder was previously
   62  investigated by a law enforcement agency and all probative leads
   63  have been exhausted.
   64         (b)“Designated person” means an immediate family member or
   65  an immediate family member’s designated legal representative,
   66  which representative must be a member in good standing of The
   67  Florida Bar.
   68         (c)“Immediate family member” means a parent, parent-in
   69  law, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, sibling, spouse, child, or
   70  stepchild of a victim, or any person who exercised in loco
   71  parentis control over such victim younger than 18 years of age
   72  at the time of the murder.
   73         (d)“Law enforcement agency” means the law enforcement
   74  agency having jurisdiction at the time of the murder.
   75         (e)“Murder” means any criminal offense provided under s.
   76  782.04, s. 782.071, or s. 782.072.
   77         (f)“Probative lead” means evidence that is sufficiently
   78  useful to prove an element of the crime and that was not
   79  identified or determined as part of the previous investigation
   80  by a law enforcement agency.
   81         (g)“Victim” means an individual who was murdered and whose
   82  case has been designated as a cold case.
   83         (2)The head of a law enforcement agency or his or her
   84  designee shall review a cold case upon receiving a written
   85  application from a designated person to determine if a full
   86  reinvestigation would result in any of the following:
   87         (a)The identification of new probative leads.
   88         (b)The identification of a likely perpetrator.
   89         (3)A review conducted pursuant to subsection (2) must
   90  include all of the following:
   91         (a)An analysis of any investigative procedures that may
   92  have been absent or missed in the initial investigation.
   93         (b)An assessment of whether witnesses should be
   94  interviewed or reinterviewed.
   95         (c)An examination of physical evidence to determine
   96  whether all appropriate forensic testing and analyses were
   97  performed in the initial investigation and whether additional
   98  testing might produce information relevant to the investigation.
   99         (d)An update of the case file using the most current
  100  investigative standards as of the date of the review, if such
  101  standards may help develop probative leads.
  102         (4)(a)The law enforcement agency must conduct a full
  103  reinvestigation of the cold case if the review pursuant to
  104  subsection (2) concludes that such reinvestigation may result in
  105  previously unidentified probative leads or in the identification
  106  of a likely perpetrator.
  107         (b)A full reinvestigation must include a review of all
  108  available evidence and an analysis of those items that may
  109  contain forensic value which were collected for the purpose of
  110  developing probative leads or identifying a likely perpetrator.
  111         (5)(a)A full reinvestigation required pursuant to
  112  subsection (4) may not be conducted solely by the person who
  113  previously investigated the murder.
  114         (b)Only one full reinvestigation may be undertaken at any
  115  time with respect to the same victim.
  116         (c)If a full reinvestigation is completed and a likely
  117  perpetrator is not identified as a result, an additional case
  118  file review or full reinvestigation is not required for that
  119  cold case for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the
  120  conclusion of the reinvestigation, unless materially significant
  121  evidence is discovered.
  122         (6)(a)Each law enforcement agency shall develop a written
  123  application to be used by a designated person to request a cold
  124  case review under subsection (2).
  125         (b)No later than July 1, 2025, the head of each law
  126  enforcement agency or his or her designee shall adopt procedures
  127  to ensure compliance with this section.
  128         (c)Each law enforcement agency shall train the appropriate
  129  law enforcement employees and officers of that law enforcement
  130  agency on the procedures required and the responsibilities and
  131  obligations imposed under this section.
  132         (7)The law enforcement agency shall, as soon as
  133  practicable, provide to the designated person who submitted the
  134  application requesting review of a cold case a written
  135  confirmation of receipt of the application. Such confirmation
  136  must include a description of the process for submitting a
  137  complaint to, and contact information for, the law enforcement
  138  agency’s unit responsible for internal investigations involving
  139  allegations of misconduct.
  140         (8)An application for review of a case that does not meet
  141  the criteria for a cold case specified in paragraph (1)(a) may
  142  be denied. If an application is denied, the head of the law
  143  enforcement agency or his or her designee must issue to the
  144  designated person who submitted the application a written
  145  explanation of the reason or reasons for the denial of the
  146  review.
  147         (9)No later than 1 year after receipt of a written
  148  application requesting a cold case review, the law enforcement
  149  agency must complete the case file review and conclude, pursuant
  150  to subsection (2), whether a full reinvestigation as provided in
  151  subsection (4) is warranted.
  152         (10)The law enforcement agency may, one time only, extend
  153  the time limit provided under subsection (9) for a period not to
  154  exceed 6 months if the law enforcement agency finds that the
  155  number of case files to be reviewed makes compliance with the
  156  time limit impracticable without diverting resources from other
  157  law enforcement activities. If the time limit is extended, the
  158  law enforcement agency must provide notice and an explanation of
  159  its reasoning for the extension to the designated person who
  160  submitted the written application for review.
  161         (11)By October 1, 2025, and at least quarterly thereafter,
  162  each law enforcement agency shall report data as described in
  163  subsection (12) to the Global Forensic and Justice Center at
  164  Florida International University.
  165         (12)The Global Forensic and Justice Center shall establish
  166  and maintain a case tracking system and searchable public
  167  website that includes all of the following information about
  168  cold case investigations covered under this section:
  169         (a)The number of written applications for cold case
  170  reviews filed with each law enforcement agency as provided under
  171  subsection (2).
  172         (b)The number of full reinvestigations initiated and
  173  closed under subsection (9).
  174         (c)The total number of cases in which the time for review
  175  was extended and a summary of the reasons for any such
  176  extensions under subsection (10).
  177         (d)Statistical information on the aggregate number of cold
  178  cases, defendants, arrests, indictments, and convictions.
  179         (13)The Global Forensic and Justice Center shall create
  180  and publish on its searchable public website a list of resources
  181  for immediate family members or designated persons who have
  182  submitted an application for a cold case review pursuant to
  183  subsection (2). The resources must, at a minimum, include
  184  system-based and community-based cold case advocacy services.
  185         (14)If more than one law enforcement agency conducted the
  186  initial investigation of a cold case, each law enforcement
  187  agency must coordinate the case file review or full
  188  reinvestigation such that there is only one joint case file
  189  review or full reinvestigation occurring at a time as required
  190  by paragraph (5)(b).
  191         (15)A law enforcement agency may request investigative
  192  assistance from the Department of Law Enforcement to complete a
  193  cold case review or reinvestigation under this section. The
  194  request must be submitted in writing.
  195         (16)The operation of this section is subject to the
  196  availability of funds specifically appropriated by the
  197  Legislature or other relevant political subdivision of this
  198  state for this purpose.
  199         (17)This section applies to any cold case in which the
  200  murder occurred on or after January 1, 1970.
  201         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2025.