February 17, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2010 Florida Statutes(including Special Session A)

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 914
WITNESSES; CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 914.17
914.17 Appointment of advocate for victims or witnesses who are minors or persons with mental retardation.
(1) A guardian ad litem or other advocate shall be appointed by the court to represent a minor in any criminal proceeding if the minor is a victim of or witness to child abuse or neglect, or if the minor is a victim of a sexual offense or a witness to a sexual offense committed against another minor. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or other advocate in any other criminal proceeding in which a minor is involved as either a victim or a witness. The guardian ad litem or other advocate shall have full access to all evidence and reports introduced during the proceedings, may interview witnesses, may make recommendations to the court, shall be noticed and have the right to appear on behalf of the minor at all proceedings, and may request additional examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. It is the duty of the guardian ad litem or other advocate to perform the following services:
(a) To explain, in language understandable to the minor, all legal proceedings in which the minor shall be involved;
(b) To act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge, whenever appropriate, of the minor’s ability to understand and cooperate with any court proceeding; and
(c) To assist the minor and the minor’s family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings in which the minor is involved.
(2) An advocate shall be appointed by the court to represent a person with mental retardation as defined in s. 393.063 in any criminal proceeding if the person with mental retardation is a victim of or witness to abuse or neglect, or if the person with mental retardation is a victim of a sexual offense or a witness to a sexual offense committed against a minor or person with mental retardation. The court may appoint an advocate in any other criminal proceeding in which a person with mental retardation is involved as either a victim or a witness. The advocate shall have full access to all evidence and reports introduced during the proceedings, may interview witnesses, may make recommendations to the court, shall be noticed and have the right to appear on behalf of the person with mental retardation at all proceedings, and may request additional examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. It is the duty of the advocate to perform the following services:
(a) To explain, in language understandable to the person with mental retardation, all legal proceedings in which the person shall be involved;
(b) To act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge, whenever appropriate, of the person with mental retardation’s ability to understand and cooperate with any court proceedings; and
(c) To assist the person with mental retardation and the person’s family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings in which the person with mental retardation is involved.
(3) Any person participating in a judicial proceeding as a guardian ad litem or other advocate shall be presumed prima facie to be acting in good faith and in so doing shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might be incurred or imposed.
History.s. 58, ch. 88-381; s. 25, ch. 94-154; s. 18, ch. 97-93; s. 108, ch. 99-3; s. 7, ch. 2000-338; s. 95, ch. 2004-267.
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