By William E. Lewis Jr. For EyesOnNews.com, Mar 19, 2015 – An individual being assaulted or raped would be allowed to secretly record their attacker under a bill passed by the Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to The Ledger on Thursday.
Sparked by a Florida Supreme Court decision last year that reversed the life prison sentence of a Lee County man who was convicted of sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter, Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) proposed a bill that would allow secretly recorded conversations to be used as evidence in criminal cases.
The man – Richard Russell McDade – was found guilty by a Lee County jury on five charges, including two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than twelve, two counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of familial or custodial authority, and one count of solicitation of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of familial or custodial authority. He was later sentenced to life in prison.
The girl – who was ten when the sexual assaults first occurred – recorded two conversations between her and McDade using an MP3 player hidden under her shirt.
At trial, McDade attempted to suppress the recordings, but a circuit judge rejected the request. The 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld the circuit judge’s decision, but noted that the case did not have any DNA evidence or other physical evidence to support the victim’s claims.
In a decision that sparked controversy, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a new trial without the illegally made recordings. The court further ruled that the Legislature would have to change Florida law for such evidence to be admissible in a trial.
“A rape victim shouldn’t have to ask their accuser for permission to record evidence while being attacked,” Fort Lauderdale attorney Joseph Dawson told EyesOnNews. “While the law now prohibits conversations from being recorded without the consent of both parties, passage of this bill will prevent others accused of such crimes from going free.”
HB 7001 – passed by a vote of 115 to 1 – would allow such recordings to be legal if they captured someone committing an unlawful sex act or act of violence against another.
Bill Lewis of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a radio talk show host, Starbucks connoisseur, social media whiz, political consultant, extreme coupon shopper, identity theft expert, columnist, philanthropist and his kids Dad.
As a nationally recognized credit repair and ID theft expert, Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.