New Florida Law Allows Child Sex Abuse Victims to Use Secret Recordings as Evidence in Court

Florida-StateSealA new Florida law allows victims or potential victims of sexual abuse and violent criminal acts to use secret recordings of their perpetrators as evidence in Court. Previously, such one-way recordings were not allowed in evidence if the perpetrator did not know they were being recorded. Under the new law, the victim must have  reasonable grounds to believe that the recording will capture a statement by another party to the communication that the other party intends to commit, is committing, or has committed an unlawful sexual act or an unlawful act of physical force or violence against the person.

The new law has an effective date of July 1, 2015. The bill was signed one day after a Lee County man, Richard McDade, was acquitted on charges of a decade of child sexual abuse because an alleged secret recording of the abuse was not allowed into evidence. Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill that would have allowed into evidence reportedly damning secret recordings.

Florida should be commended for passing legislation that assists in the prosecution of persons who commit the most heinous criminal offenses.