Lawmaker Proposes New Witness Protection Law

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

witnessProtectionA Tampa-based lawmaker named Ed Narain is spearheading a bill intended to protect the identity of a witness to a felony from being disclosed publicly.  Known as House Bill 475 (HB 475), it was submitted in October and is currently being reviewed by a Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Should the legislation pass, it will affect Florida’s existing public records law of witnesses by creating an exemption that prohibits disclosing any personally identifying information.  This exemption would last until a prosecution has concluded or the crime’s statute of limitations has been reached, whichever happens first.

Per Mr. Narain, revealing the name of a witness “could have undesirable chilling effect on witnesses stepping forward and providing their accounts of felonies.”  It is not uncommon for an alleged criminal to retaliate against a witness if the individual chooses to talk with an investigator, and such a culture discourages witnesses from revealing potentially critical information that could significantly affect a criminal case.

HB 475 is one of the latest exemptions to Florida’s open meetings and public records statutes, otherwise known as the Sunshine Laws.  Starting off with 250 in the 1980s, it has since increased to more than 1,000 exemptions as of 2014.

This Florida law update is brought to you by South Florida law firm Bauer Brofsky.  Some of our areas of practice include estate planning as well as criminal law, tax planning, personal injury and real estate law.  Call 305-712-7979 for a case evaluation or to speak with a Miami criminal defense lawyer.

More to Explore

Prince Estate Planning

  April 21st saw the death of another musical icon, Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead in Minnesota at age 57; a talented producer, singer,

Read More »

Revising Your Estate Plan

If you have an estate plan in place, congratulations!  You’re among a relatively small group of individuals that have taken an important step in securing

Read More »