November 24, 2020
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title VII
Chapter 92
View Entire Chapter
Section 92.53, Florida Statutes 2009

92.53  Videotaping of testimony of victim or witness under age 16 or person with mental retardation.--

(1)  On motion and hearing in camera and a finding that there is a substantial likelihood that a victim or witness who is under the age of 16 or who is a person with mental retardation as defined in s. 393.063 would suffer at least moderate emotional or mental harm due to the presence of the defendant if the child or person with mental retardation is required to testify in open court, or that such victim or witness is otherwise unavailable as defined in s. 90.804(1), the trial court may order the videotaping of the testimony of the victim or witness in a case, whether civil or criminal in nature, in which videotaped testimony is to be utilized at trial in lieu of trial testimony in open court.

(2)  The motion may be filed by:

(a)  The victim or witness, or the victim's or witness's attorney, parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem;

(b)  A trial judge on his or her own motion;

(c)  Any party in a civil proceeding; or

(d)  The prosecuting attorney or the defendant, or the defendant's counsel.

(3)  The judge shall preside, or shall appoint a special master to preside, at the videotaping unless the following conditions are met:

(a)  The child or person with mental retardation is represented by a guardian ad litem or counsel;

(b)  The representative of the victim or witness and the counsel for each party stipulate that the requirement for the presence of the judge or special master may be waived; and

(c)  The court finds at a hearing on the motion that the presence of a judge or special master is not necessary to protect the victim or witness.

(4)  The defendant and the defendant's counsel shall be present at the videotaping, unless the defendant has waived this right. The court may require the defendant to view the testimony from outside the presence of the child or person with mental retardation by means of a two-way mirror or another similar method that will ensure that the defendant can observe and hear the testimony of the victim or witness in person, but that the victim or witness cannot hear or see the defendant. The defendant and the attorney for the defendant may communicate by any appropriate private method.

(5)  Any party, or the court on its own motion, may request the aid of an interpreter, as provided in s. 90.606, to aid the parties in formulating methods of questioning the child or person with mental retardation and in interpreting the answers of the child or person with mental retardation throughout proceedings conducted under this section.

(6)  The motion referred to in subsection (1) may be made at any time with reasonable notice to each party to the cause, and videotaping of testimony may be made any time after the court grants the motion. The videotaped testimony shall be admissible as evidence in the trial of the cause; however, such testimony shall not be admissible in any trial or proceeding in which such witness testifies by use of closed circuit television pursuant to s. 92.54.

(7)  The court shall make specific findings of fact, on the record, as to the basis for its ruling under this section.

History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-69; s. 1, ch. 84-36; ss. 5, 9, ch. 85-53; s. 9, ch. 85-80; s. 1, ch. 93-131; s. 21, ch. 94-154; s. 1379, ch. 95-147; s. 30, ch. 99-2; s. 4, ch. 2000-338; s. 89, ch. 2004-267.

Note.--Former ss. 918.17, 90.90.

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