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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 406
MEDICAL EXAMINERS; DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS
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CHAPTER 406
CHAPTER 406
MEDICAL EXAMINERS; DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS
PART I
MEDICAL EXAMINERS
(ss. 406.01-406.17)
PART II
DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS
(ss. 406.49-406.61)
PART I
MEDICAL EXAMINERS
406.01 Short title.
406.02 Medical Examiners Commission; membership; terms; duties; staff.
406.03 Organization and meetings of commission.
406.04 Rules.
406.05 Medical examiner districts.
406.06 District medical examiners; associates; suspension of medical examiners.
406.075 Grounds for discipline; disciplinary proceedings.
406.08 Payment of fees, salaries, and expenses; transportation costs; facilities.
406.09 Expert witness fees.
406.11 Examinations, investigations, and autopsies.
406.12 Duty to report; prohibited acts.
406.13 Examiner’s report; maintenance of records.
406.135 Autopsies; confidentiality of photographs and video and audio recordings; exemption.
406.136 A photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties.
406.14 Duty of law enforcement officers.
406.145 Unidentified persons; reporting requirements.
406.15 Designation of substitute in absence of official examiner.
406.16 Professional liability insurance.
406.17 Application and construction.
406.01 Short title.This chapter shall be known as the “Medical Examiners Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 70-232.
406.02 Medical Examiners Commission; membership; terms; duties; staff.
(1) There is created the Medical Examiners Commission within the Department of Law Enforcement. The commission shall consist of nine persons appointed or selected as follows:
(a) The Governor shall appoint:
1. Two members who are physicians licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 and who are active district medical examiners;
2. One member who is a funeral director licensed pursuant to chapter 497;
3. One member who is a state attorney;
4. One member who is a public defender;
5. One member who is a sheriff; and
6. One member who is a county commissioner.
(b) One member shall be the Attorney General or her or his designated representative.
(c) One member shall be the State Surgeon General or her or his designated representative.
(2) The term of office of the physicians appointed to the commission shall be 4 years. The term of office of the state attorney, public defender, sheriff, and county commissioner each shall be 4 years unless she or he leaves that office sooner, in which case her or his appointment will terminate. The term of office of the funeral director shall be 4 years. Upon the expiration of the present terms of office, the Governor shall appoint two members for terms of 4 years, two members for terms of 3 years, two members for terms of 2 years, and one member for a term of 1 year. An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the unexpired portion of the term.
(3) Members of the commission shall not receive any compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for travel and expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in s. 112.061.
(4) The Medical Examiners Commission shall:
(a) Initiate cooperative policies with any agency of the state or political subdivision thereof.
(b) Remove or suspend district medical examiners pursuant to this act and have the authority to investigate violations of this act.
(c) Oversee the distribution of state funds for the medical examiner districts and may make such agreements and contracts, subject to approval of the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement, as may be necessary to effect the provisions of this chapter.
(5) All staffing and budgetary decisions involving the commission shall be subject to the approval of the executive director of the department.
(6) The Department of Law Enforcement shall employ staff for the commission pursuant to subsection (5).
History.s. 2, ch. 70-232; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 1, ch. 72-392; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 4, ch. 78-323; s. 15, ch. 79-8; ss. 1, 5, 6, 7, ch. 81-89; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; s. 16, ch. 86-220; ss. 1, 7, 8, ch. 87-359; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 25, ch. 97-103; s. 174, ch. 99-8; s. 140, ch. 2004-301; s. 55, ch. 2008-6; s. 113, ch. 2010-102.
406.03 Organization and meetings of commission.The commission shall annually select a chair from among its own membership and shall meet at least four times each year and on the call of the chair.
History.s. 3, ch. 70-232; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 6, 7, ch. 81-89; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 7, 8, ch. 87-359; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 26, ch. 97-103.
406.04 Rules.The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter. The commission shall ensure minimum and uniform standards of excellence, performance of duties, and maintenance of records so as to provide useful and adequate information to the state in regard to causative factors of those deaths investigated.
History.s. 3, ch. 70-232; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 6, 7, ch. 81-89; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 7, 8, ch. 87-359; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 110, ch. 98-200.
406.05 Medical examiner districts.The Medical Examiners Commission shall establish medical examiner districts within the state, taking into consideration population, judicial circuits of the state, geographical size of the area of coverage, availability of trained personnel, death rate by both natural and unnatural causes, and similar related factors. No county may be divided in the creation of a district. However, this limitation shall not prohibit cooperative arrangements among the several districts.
History.s. 3, ch. 70-232; s. 2, ch. 72-392; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 6, 7, ch. 81-89; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 7, 8, ch. 87-359; s. 5, ch. 91-429.
406.06 District medical examiners; associates; suspension of medical examiners.
(1)(a) A district medical examiner shall be appointed by the Governor for each medical examiner district from nominees who are practicing physicians in pathology, whose nominations are submitted to the Governor by the Medical Examiners Commission. The term of office of each district medical examiner shall be 3 years. An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the unexpired portion of the term.
(b) A physician member of the Medical Examiners Commission shall be eligible to serve as a district medical examiner upon approval by the Governor.
(2) The district medical examiner may appoint as many physicians as associate medical examiners as may be necessary to provide service at all times and all places within the district. Associate medical examiners shall serve at the pleasure of the district medical examiner. The district medical examiner shall file an affidavit with the supervisor of elections in the county in which she or he resides assuring that associate medical examiners have no conflicting financial interests or clients represented before agencies pursuant to s. 112.3145.
(3) District medical examiners and associate medical examiners shall be entitled to compensation and such reasonable salary and fees as are established by the board of county commissioners in the respective districts.
(4) District medical examiners and associate medical examiners may engage in the private practice of medicine or surgery, if licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459, insofar as such private practice does not interfere with their duties as prescribed herein.
(5) District medical examiners and associate medical examiners are public officers for purposes of s. 112.313 and the standards of conduct prescribed thereunder.
(6) The Governor may suspend a medical examiner for violation of s. 406.11(2)(b).
(7) The Medical Examiners Commission may temporarily suspend a medical examiner who is unable to carry out the duties of a medical examiner by reason of the use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material. The commission shall reinstate the medical examiner if the medical examiner shows the commission that he or she is under appropriate treatment or in an appropriate program addressing the use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material and is again capable of carrying out the duties of a medical examiner.
History.ss. 4, 5, ch. 70-232; s. 3, ch. 72-392; s. 2, ch. 81-89; s. 68, ch. 83-218; s. 2, ch. 87-359; s. 2, ch. 90-169; s. 27, ch. 97-103; s. 1, ch. 98-253.
406.075 Grounds for discipline; disciplinary proceedings.
(1) A medical examiner may be reprimanded, placed on a period of probation, removed, or suspended by the Medical Examiners Commission for any of the following:
(a) Failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter or with the rules of the commission.
(b) Misuse or misappropriation of public funds or property.
(c) Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the duties of the district medical examiner or the ability to perform the duties of the medical examiner.
(d) Disciplinary action against him or her by any state board licensing him or her as a physician.
(e) Having a financial interest in any funeral or direct disposal establishment or transportation service which does business, directly or indirectly, with the office of the district medical examiner.
(f) A material misrepresentation of his or her education, training, experience, or expertise while in his or her capacity as a medical examiner.
(g) A material misrepresentation of data upon which an opinion or conclusion as a medical examiner is based.
(h) Violation of s. 406.11(2)(b).
(i) Negligence or the failure to perform the duties required of a medical examiner with that level of care or skill which is recognized by reasonably prudent medical examiners as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.
(2) The commission shall cause to be investigated any complaint which is filed before it if the complaint is in writing, signed by the complainant, and legally sufficient. A complaint is legally sufficient if it contains ultimate facts which show a violation of this chapter or of any rule promulgated by the commission. The commission may investigate and take action on a complaint even though the complainant withdraws the complaint. The commission may investigate a complaint from a confidential informant if the complaint is substantial, if the alleged violation is substantial, if the complaint is legally sufficient, and if the commission has reason to believe, after inquiry, that the allegations are true. When an investigation of any district medical examiner or associate medical examiner is commenced, the commission shall notify the person against whom the complaint was made of the substance of the investigation, unless the commission chair agrees in writing that such notification would be detrimental to the investigation. The commission may conduct an investigation without notification to any person if the act under investigation is a criminal offense. The commission chair shall direct the commission staff to perform an expeditious investigation into the facts of the case, with the assistance of the Department of Law Enforcement, if needed. The staff report shall contain investigative findings and recommendations as to probable cause.
(3)(a) The commission chair shall appoint a probable cause panel of three members from among the commission membership, one of whom shall be a medical examiner. The probable cause panel may request staff to perform additional investigations as it sees fit.
1. The determination as to whether or not probable cause exists shall be made by a majority vote of the probable cause panel within 30 working days of its receipt of staff investigative findings and recommendations. The commission chair may grant 30-day extensions of the 30 working day time limit.
2. All proceedings and findings of the probable cause panel are exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 until probable cause has been found or until the subject of the investigation waives confidentiality. The complaint, all investigative findings, and the recommendations of the probable cause panel are exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until 10 days after probable cause has been found or until the subject of the investigation waives confidentiality. The commission may provide such information at any time to any law enforcement agency or to any regulatory agency.
(b) If the probable cause panel finds that probable cause exists, it shall direct the commission to file a formal complaint against the subject of the investigation. The commission shall file a formal complaint pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120. The probable cause panel may also direct the commission to suspend a district medical examiner from office immediately, under the provisions of s. 120.60(6), if a danger to public health, safety, or welfare so requires.
(c) A formal hearing before an administrative law judge from the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services shall be held pursuant to chapter 120 unless all parties agree in writing that there is no disputed issue of material fact. The administrative law judge shall issue a recommended order pursuant to chapter 120. If any party raises an issue of disputed fact during an informal hearing, the hearing shall be terminated and a formal hearing pursuant to chapter 120 shall be held.
(d) The commission, with those members of the probable cause panel who reviewed the case being excused from voting, shall determine and issue the final order in each disciplinary case, and such order shall constitute final agency action. Any consent order or agreed settlement shall be subject to the approval of the commission.
(e) The commission shall periodically notify the person who filed the complaint of the status of the investigation, whether probable cause has been found, and the status of any civil action or administrative proceeding or appeal.
(4) A privilege against civil liability is hereby granted to any complainant or any witness with regard to information furnished during any investigation or proceeding pursuant to this section, unless the complainant or witness acted in bad faith or with malice in providing such information.
History.s. 3, ch. 87-359; s. 2, ch. 88-303; s. 9, ch. 90-344; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 128, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 246, ch. 96-406; s. 189, ch. 96-410; s. 1015, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 98-253.
406.08 Payment of fees, salaries, and expenses; transportation costs; facilities.
(1) Fees, salaries, and expenses may be paid from the general funds or any other funds under the control of the board of county commissioners. The district medical examiner shall submit an annual budget to the board of county commissioners.
(2) In the event that an examination or autopsy is performed by the district medical examiner or his or her associate upon a body when the death occurred outside the district, the governmental body requesting the examination or autopsy shall pay the fee for such services.
(3) When a body is transported to the district medical examiner or his or her associate, transportation costs, if any, shall be borne by the county in which the death occurred. Nothing within this chapter shall preclude payment for services to the district medical examiner by the state, either in part or on a matching basis.
(4) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if an examination, investigation, or autopsy is performed by the district medical examiner or his or her associate upon the body of a person who died while in the custody of a facility or institution operated by a state agency, that state agency shall pay for such services and for any costs of transporting the body to the district medical examiner.
(5) Autopsy and laboratory facilities utilized by the district medical examiner or his or her associates may be provided on a permanent or contractual basis by the counties within the district.
History.s. 5, ch. 70-232; s. 144, ch. 77-104; s. 3, ch. 81-89; s. 1, ch. 85-268; s. 4, ch. 87-359; s. 28, ch. 97-103.
406.09 Expert witness fees.District medical examiners or associate medical examiners shall be entitled to expert witness fees as provided by law.
History.s. 5, ch. 70-232; s. 4, ch. 81-89.
406.11 Examinations, investigations, and autopsies.
(1) In any of the following circumstances involving the death of a human being, the medical examiner of the district in which the death occurred or the body was found shall determine the cause of death and shall, for that purpose, make or have performed such examinations, investigations, and autopsies as he or she shall deem necessary or as shall be requested by the state attorney:
(a) When any person dies in the state:
1. Of criminal violence.
2. By accident.
3. By suicide.
4. Suddenly, when in apparent good health.
5. Unattended by a practicing physician or other recognized practitioner.
6. In any prison or penal institution.
7. In police custody.
8. In any suspicious or unusual circumstance.
9. By criminal abortion.
10. By poison.
11. By disease constituting a threat to public health.
12. By disease, injury, or toxic agent resulting from employment.
(b) When a dead body is brought into the state without proper medical certification.
(c) When a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea.
(2)(a) The district medical examiner shall have the authority in any case coming under subsection (1) to perform, or have performed, whatever autopsies or laboratory examinations he or she deems necessary and in the public interest to determine the identification of or cause or manner of death of the deceased or to obtain evidence necessary for forensic examination.
(b) The Medical Examiners Commission shall adopt rules, pursuant to chapter 120, providing for the notification of the next of kin that an investigation by the medical examiner’s office is being conducted. A medical examiner may not retain or furnish any body part of the deceased for research or any other purpose which is not in conjunction with a determination of the identification of or cause or manner of death of the deceased or the presence of disease or which is not otherwise authorized by this chapter, part V of chapter 765, or chapter 873, without notification of and approval by the next of kin.
History.s. 6, ch. 70-232; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 87-166; s. 29, ch. 97-103; s. 3, ch. 98-253; s. 48, ch. 2006-1; s. 28, ch. 2015-4.
406.12 Duty to report; prohibited acts.It is the duty of any person in the district where a death occurs, including all municipalities and unincorporated and federal areas, who becomes aware of the death of any person occurring under the circumstances described in s. 406.11 to report such death and circumstances forthwith to the district medical examiner. Any person who knowingly fails or refuses to report such death and circumstances, who refuses to make available prior medical or other information pertinent to the death investigation, or who, without an order from the office of the district medical examiner, willfully touches, removes, or disturbs the body, clothing, or any article upon or near the body, with the intent to alter the evidence or circumstances surrounding the death, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 7, ch. 70-232; s. 353, ch. 71-136.
406.13 Examiner’s report; maintenance of records.Upon receipt of such notification pursuant to s. 406.12, the district medical examiner or her or his associate shall examine or otherwise take charge of the dead body and shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency pursuant to s. 406.145. When the cause of death has been established within reasonable medical certainty by the district medical examiner or her or his associate, she or he shall so report or make available to the state attorney, in writing, her or his determination as to the cause of said death. Duplicate copies of records and the detailed findings of autopsy and laboratory investigations shall be maintained by the district medical examiner. Any evidence or specimen coming into the possession of said medical examiner in connection with any investigation or autopsy may be retained by the medical examiner or be delivered to one of the law enforcement officers assigned to the investigation of the death.
History.ss. 7, 8, ch. 70-232; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 86-234; s. 30, ch. 97-103.
406.135 Autopsies; confidentiality of photographs and video and audio recordings; exemption.
(1) For the purpose of this section, the term “medical examiner” means any district medical examiner, associate medical examiner, or substitute medical examiner acting pursuant to this chapter, as well as any employee, deputy, or agent of a medical examiner or any other person who may obtain possession of a photograph or audio or video recording of an autopsy in the course of assisting a medical examiner in the performance of his or her official duties.
(2) A photograph or video or audio recording of an autopsy held by a medical examiner is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that a surviving spouse may view and copy a photograph or video recording or listen to or copy an audio recording of the deceased spouse’s autopsy. If there is no surviving spouse, then the surviving parents shall have access to such records. If there is no surviving spouse or parent, then an adult child shall have access to such records.
(3)(a) The deceased’s surviving relative, with whom authority rests to obtain such records, may designate in writing an agent to obtain such records.
(b) A local governmental entity, or a state or federal agency, in furtherance of its official duties, pursuant to a written request, may view or copy a photograph or video recording or may listen to or copy an audio recording of an autopsy, and unless otherwise required in the performance of their duties, the identity of the deceased shall remain confidential and exempt.
(c) The custodian of the record, or his or her designee, may not permit any other person, except an agent designated in writing by the deceased’s surviving relative with whom authority rests to obtain such records, to view or copy such photograph or video recording or listen to or copy an audio recording without a court order.
(4)(a) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may issue an order authorizing any person to view or copy a photograph or video recording of an autopsy or to listen to or copy an audio recording of an autopsy and may prescribe any restrictions or stipulations that the court deems appropriate.
(b) In determining good cause, the court shall consider whether such disclosure is necessary for the public evaluation of governmental performance; the seriousness of the intrusion into the family’s right to privacy and whether such disclosure is the least intrusive means available; and the availability of similar information in other public records, regardless of form.
(c) In all cases, the viewing, copying, listening to or other handling of a photograph or video or audio recording of an autopsy must be under the direct supervision of the custodian of the record or his or her designee.
(5) A surviving spouse shall be given reasonable notice of a petition filed with the court to view or copy a photograph or video recording of an autopsy or a petition to listen to or copy an audio recording, a copy of such petition, and reasonable notice of the opportunity to be present and heard at any hearing on the matter. If there is no surviving spouse, then such notice must be given to the parents of the deceased, and if the deceased has no living parent, then to the adult children of the deceased.
(6)(a) Any custodian of a photograph or video or audio recording of an autopsy who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates a court order issued pursuant to this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(7) A criminal or administrative proceeding is exempt from this section, but unless otherwise exempted, is subject to all other provisions of chapter 119, provided however that this section does not prohibit a court in a criminal or administrative proceeding upon good cause shown from restricting or otherwise controlling the disclosure of an autopsy, crime scene, or similar photograph or video or audio recordings in the manner prescribed herein.
(8) This exemption shall be given retroactive application.
History.s. 1, ch. 2001-1; s. 1, ch. 2003-184; s. 1, ch. 2006-263.
406.136 A photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties.
(1) As used in this section, the term “killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties” means all acts or events that cause or otherwise relate to the death of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties, including any related acts or events immediately preceding or subsequent to the acts or events that were the proximate cause of death.
(2) A photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that a surviving spouse of the decedent may view and copy any such photograph or video recording or listen to or copy any such audio recording. If there is no surviving spouse, then the surviving parents shall have access to such records. If there is no surviving spouse or parent, then an adult child shall have access to such records.
(3)(a) The deceased’s surviving relative, with whom authority rests to obtain such records, may designate in writing an agent to obtain such records.
(b) A local governmental entity, or a state or federal agency, in furtherance of its official duties, pursuant to a written request, may view or copy a photograph or video recording or may listen to or copy an audio recording of the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties and, unless otherwise required in the performance of their duties, the identity of the deceased shall remain confidential and exempt.
(c) The custodian of the record, or his or her designee, may not permit any other person to view or copy such photograph or video recording or listen to or copy such audio recording without a court order.
(4)(a) The court, upon a showing of good cause, may issue an order authorizing any person to view or copy a photograph or video recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties or to listen to or copy an audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties and may prescribe any restrictions or stipulations that the court deems appropriate.
(b) In determining good cause, the court shall consider:
1. Whether such disclosure is necessary for the public evaluation of governmental performance;
2. The seriousness of the intrusion into the family’s right to privacy and whether such disclosure is the least intrusive means available; and
3. The availability of similar information in other public records, regardless of form.
(c) In all cases, the viewing, copying, listening to, or other handling of a photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties must be under the direct supervision of the custodian of the record or his or her designee.
(5) A surviving spouse shall be given reasonable notice of a petition filed with the court to view or copy a photograph or video recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties or to listen to or copy any such audio recording, a copy of such petition, and reasonable notice of the opportunity to be present and heard at any hearing on the matter. If there is no surviving spouse, then such notice must be given to the parents of the deceased and, if the deceased has no living parent, then to the adult children of the deceased.
(6)(a) Any custodian of a photograph or video or audio recording that depicts or records the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates a court order issued pursuant to this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c) A criminal or administrative proceeding is exempt from this section but, unless otherwise exempted, is subject to all other provisions of chapter 119, provided however that this section does not prohibit a court in a criminal or administrative proceeding upon good cause shown from restricting or otherwise controlling the disclosure of a killing, crime scene, or similar photograph or video or audio recordings in the manner prescribed herein.
(7) This exemption shall be given retroactive application and shall apply to all photographs or video or audio recordings that depict or record the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties, regardless of whether the killing of the person occurred before, on, or after July 1, 2011. However, nothing herein is intended to, nor may be construed to, overturn or abrogate or alter any existing orders duly entered into by any court of this state, as of the effective date of this act, which restrict or limit access to any photographs or video or audio recordings that depict or record the killing of a law enforcement officer who was acting in accordance with his or her official duties.
(8) This section only applies to such photographs and video and audio recordings held by an agency as defined in s. 119.011.
History.s. 1, ch. 2011-115; s. 1, ch. 2016-214.
406.14 Duty of law enforcement officers.Any evidence material to the determination of the cause of death in possession of the law enforcement officers assigned to the investigation of the death shall be made available to the medical examiner. It is the duty of the law enforcement officer assigned to and investigating the death to immediately establish and maintain liaison with the medical examiner during the investigation into the cause of death.
History.s. 8, ch. 70-232.
406.145 Unidentified persons; reporting requirements.When an unidentified body is transported to a district medical examiner pursuant to this chapter, the medical examiner shall immediately report receipt of such body to the appropriate law enforcement agency, provided such law enforcement agency was not responsible for transportation of the body to the medical examiner. If the medical examiner cannot determine the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction, he or she shall notify the sheriff of the county in which the medical examiner is located, who shall determine the law enforcement agency responsible for the identification. It is the duty of the law enforcement officer assigned to and investigating the death to immediately establish the identity of the body. If the body is not immediately identified, the law enforcement agency responsible for investigating the death shall enter data concerning the body, through the Florida Crime Information Center, into the Unidentified Person File of the National Crime Information Center.
History.s. 2, ch. 86-234; s. 31, ch. 97-103; s. 3, ch. 2013-116.
406.15 Designation of substitute in absence of official examiner.In the absence of the district medical examiner or associate medical examiner, the state attorney of the county may appoint a competent physician to act in their stead.
History.s. 9, ch. 70-232; s. 26, ch. 73-334.
406.16 Professional liability insurance.The district medical examiners and associate medical examiners shall obtain professional liability insurance in an amount to be determined by the board of county commissioners of the county or counties served. The fees for such insurance shall be paid from funds appropriated by the board of county commissioners of such county or counties. No county shall be liable for any acts of a medical examiner not within the scope of his or her official duties.
History.s. 10, ch. 70-232; s. 32, ch. 97-103.
406.17 Application and construction.This chapter supersedes all parts of statutes, general law, and special acts, with which it may be in conflict. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to repeal or amend s. 925.09 or to affect the right of prosecutors to investigate and determine causes of death which, in their opinion, may have been criminally caused. In home rule counties which have established medical examiners under provisions of a home rule charter or a code or ordinance enacted pursuant to the charter, the medical examiner shall also serve as the district medical examiner who would otherwise be appointed under this chapter.
History.s. 11, ch. 70-232; s. 1, ch. 81-233; s. 5, ch. 87-359.
PART II
DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS
406.49 Definitions.
406.50 Unclaimed remains; disposition, procedure.
406.51 Final disposition of unclaimed deceased veterans; contract requirements.
406.52 Retention of human remains before use; claim after delivery to anatomical board; procedures for unclaimed remains of indigent persons.
406.53 Unclaimed remains of indigent person; exemption from notice to the anatomical board.
406.55 Contracts for delivery of human remains after death prohibited.
406.56 Acceptance of human remains under will.
406.57 Distribution of human remains.
406.58 Fees; authority to accept additional funds; annual audit.
406.59 Institutions receiving human remains.
406.60 Disposition of human remains after use.
406.61 Selling, buying, or conveying human remains outside state prohibited; exceptions; penalty.
406.49 Definitions.As used in this part, the term:
(1) “Anatomical board” means the anatomical board of the state headquartered at the University of Florida Health Science Center.
(2) “Cremated remains” has the same meaning as provided in s. 497.005.
(3) “Final disposition” has the same meaning as provided in s. 497.005.
(4) “Human remains” or “remains” has the same meaning as provided in s. 497.005.
(5) “Indigent person” means a person whose family income does not exceed 100 percent of the current federal poverty guidelines prescribed for the family’s household size by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(6) “Legally authorized person” has the same meaning as provided in s. 497.005.
(7) “Nontransplant anatomical donation organization” means a tissue bank or other organization that facilitates nontransplant anatomical donation, including referral, obtaining informed consent or authorization, acquisition, traceability, transport, assessing donor acceptability, preparation, packaging, labeling, storage, release, evaluating intended use, distribution, and final disposition of nontransplant anatomical donations.
(8) “Unclaimed remains” means human remains that are not claimed by a legally authorized person, other than a medical examiner or the board of county commissioners, for final disposition at the person’s expense.
History.s. 5, ch. 2013-138.
406.50 Unclaimed remains; disposition, procedure.
(1) A person or entity that comes into possession, charge, or control of unclaimed remains that are required to be buried or cremated at public expense shall immediately notify the anatomical board, unless:
(a) The unclaimed remains are decomposed or mutilated by wounds;
(b) An autopsy is performed on the remains;
(c) The remains contain a contagious disease;
(d) A legally authorized person objects to use of the remains for medical education or research; or
(e) The deceased person was a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Reserve Forces, or National Guard and is eligible for burial in a national cemetery or was the spouse or dependent child of a veteran eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
(2) Before the final disposition of unclaimed remains, the person or entity in charge or control of the remains shall make a reasonable effort to:
(a) Determine the identity of the deceased person and contact any relatives of the deceased person.
(b) Determine whether the deceased person is eligible under 38 C.F.R. s. 38.620 for burial in a national cemetery as a veteran of the armed forces and, if eligible, to cause the deceased person’s remains or cremated remains to be delivered to a national cemetery.

For purposes of this subsection, “a reasonable effort” includes contacting the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, the county veterans service office, or the regional office of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

(3) Unclaimed remains shall be delivered to the anatomical board as soon as possible after death. When no family exists or is available, a funeral director licensed under chapter 497 may assume the responsibility of a legally authorized person and may, after 24 hours have elapsed since the time of death, authorize arterial embalming for the purposes of storage and delivery of unclaimed remains to the anatomical board. A funeral director licensed under chapter 497 is not liable for damages under this subsection.
(4) The remains of a deceased person whose identity is not known may not be cremated, donated as an anatomical gift, buried at sea, or removed from the state.
(5) If the anatomical board does not accept the unclaimed remains, the board of county commissioners or its designated county department of the county in which the death occurred or the remains were found may authorize and arrange for the burial or cremation of the entire remains. A board of county commissioners may by resolution or ordinance, in accordance with applicable laws and rules, prescribe policies and procedures for final disposition of unclaimed remains.
(6) This part does not affect the right of a medical examiner to hold human remains for the purpose of investigating the cause of death or the right of any court of competent jurisdiction to enter an order affecting the disposition of such remains.
History.s. 6, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 22, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 91-168; s. 1, ch. 96-251; s. 1, ch. 2002-204; s. 141, ch. 2004-301; s. 6, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.06.
406.51 Final disposition of unclaimed deceased veterans; contract requirements.Any contract by a local governmental entity for the final disposition of unclaimed remains must provide for compliance with s. 406.50(2) and require that the procedures in 38 C.F.R. s. 38.620, relating to disposition of unclaimed deceased veterans, are followed.
History.s. 2, ch. 2002-204; s. 43, ch. 2003-1; s. 7, ch. 2013-138.
406.52 Retention of human remains before use; claim after delivery to anatomical board; procedures for unclaimed remains of indigent persons.
(1) The anatomical board shall keep in storage all human remains that it receives for at least 48 hours before allowing their use for medical education or research. Human remains may be embalmed when received. The anatomical board may, for any reason, refuse to accept unclaimed remains or the remains of an indigent person.
(2) At any time before their use for medical education or research, human remains delivered to the anatomical board may be claimed by a legally authorized person. The anatomical board shall release the remains to the legally authorized person after payment of the anatomical board’s expenses incurred for transporting, embalming, and storing the remains.
(3)(a) A board of county commissioners may by resolution or ordinance, in accordance with applicable laws and rules, prescribe policies and procedures for the burial or cremation of the entire unclaimed remains of an indigent person whose death occurred, or whose remains were found, in the county.
(b) A person licensed under chapter 497 is not liable for any damages resulting from cremating or burying such human remains at the written direction of the board of county commissioners or its designee.
History.s. 8, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 72-40; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 91-168; s. 2, ch. 96-251; s. 12, ch. 98-268; s. 142, ch. 2004-301; s. 8, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.07.
406.53 Unclaimed remains of indigent person; exemption from notice to the anatomical board.A board of county commissioners or its designated county department that receives a report of the unclaimed remains of an indigent person, notwithstanding s. 406.50(1), is not required to notify the anatomical board of the remains if:
(1) The indigent person’s remains are decomposed or mutilated by wounds or if an autopsy is performed on the remains;
(2) A legally authorized person or a relative by blood or marriage claims the remains for final disposition at his or her expense or, if such relative or legally authorized person is also an indigent person, in a manner consistent with the policies and procedures of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the death occurred or the remains were found;
(3) The deceased person was a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Reserve Forces, or National Guard and is eligible for burial in a national cemetery or was the spouse or dependent child of a veteran eligible for burial in a national cemetery; or
(4) A funeral director licensed under chapter 497 certifies that the anatomical board has been notified and either accepted or declined the remains.
History.s. 7, ch. 28163, 1953; s. 1, ch. 67-564; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 81-40; s. 10, ch. 84-114; s. 12, ch. 95-143; s. 88, ch. 95-148; s. 3, ch. 96-251; s. 44, ch. 99-8; s. 143, ch. 2004-301; s. 9, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.08.
406.55 Contracts for delivery of human remains after death prohibited.The anatomical board may not enter into any contract, oral or written, that provides for any sum of money to be paid to any living person in exchange for the delivery of that person’s remains to the anatomical board when the person dies.
History.s. 9, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 5, ch. 96-251; s. 10, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.10.
406.56 Acceptance of human remains under will.If any person of sound mind executes a will leaving his or her remains to the anatomical board for medical education or research and the person dies within the geographical limits of the state, the anatomical board may accept and receive the person’s remains.
History.s. 10, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 6, ch. 96-251; s. 11, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.11.
406.57 Distribution of human remains.The anatomical board or its duly authorized agent shall take and receive human remains delivered to it as provided in this chapter and shall:
(1) Distribute the remains equitably among the medical and dental schools, teaching hospitals, medical institutions, and health-related teaching programs that require cadaveric material for study; or
(2) Loan the remains to accredited colleges of mortuary science or medical or dental examining boards for educational or research purposes.
History.s. 11, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 7, ch. 96-251; s. 12, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.12.
406.58 Fees; authority to accept additional funds; annual audit.
(1) The anatomical board may:
(a) Adopt a schedule of fees to be collected from the institutions to which the human remains are distributed or loaned to defray the costs of obtaining and preparing the remains.
(b) Receive money from public or private sources, in addition to the fees collected from the institutions to which human remains are distributed, to be used to defray the costs of embalming, handling, shipping, storing, cremating, and otherwise obtaining and using the remains.
(c) Pay or reimburse the reasonable expenses, as determined by the anatomical board, incurred by a funeral establishment or removal service licensed under chapter 497 for the removal, storage, and transportation to the anatomical board of unclaimed human remains.
(d) Enter into contracts and perform such other acts necessary for the proper performance of its duties.
(2) The anatomical board shall keep a complete record of all fees and other financial transactions. The University of Florida shall conduct an audit of the financial records of the anatomical board at least once every 3 years or more frequently as the university deems necessary. Within 90 days after completing an audit, the university shall provide a copy of the audit to the Department of Financial Services. The university may contract with a licensed public accounting firm to provide for the audit, which firm may be paid from the fees collected by the anatomical board.
History.ss. 12, 15, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 12, 15, 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 79-12; s. 8, ch. 96-251; s. 433, ch. 2003-261; s. 13, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.13.
406.59 Institutions receiving human remains.A university, school, college, teaching hospital, or institution may not receive any human remains from the anatomical board until its facilities are inspected and approved by the anatomical board. Human remains received by such university, school, college, teaching hospital, or institution may not be used for any purpose other than medical education or research.
History.s. 13, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 11, 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 72-40; s. 9, ch. 96-251; s. 14, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.14.
406.60 Disposition of human remains after use.When human remains have been used for, and are not of any further value to, medical or dental education or research, the anatomical board or a cinerator facility licensed under chapter 497 may dispose of the remains or any part thereof by cremation.
History.s. 14, ch. 28163, 1953; s. 15, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.15.
406.61 Selling, buying, or conveying human remains outside state prohibited; exceptions; penalty.
(1)(a) The anatomical board may transport human remains outside the state for educational or scientific purposes. This chapter does not prohibit the transport of human remains, any part of such remains, or tissue specimens in furtherance of lawful examination, investigation, or autopsy conducted pursuant to s. 406.11.
(b) A person, institution, or organization that conveys human remains or any part thereof into or outside the state for medical or dental education or research purposes must notify the anatomical board of such intent and receive approval from the board.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a nontransplant anatomical donation organization accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks may convey human remains or any part thereof into or outside the state for medical or dental education or research purposes without notifying or receiving approval from the anatomical board. Effective October 1, 2014, a nontransplant anatomical donation organization must be accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks.
(d) A person who sells or buys human remains or any part thereof, or a person who transmits or conveys or causes to be transmitted or conveyed such remains or part thereof to any place outside this state, in violation of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This paragraph does not apply to a recognized Florida medical or dental school.
(2)(a) Human remains received in this state by the anatomical board or a nontransplant anatomical donation organization must be accompanied by the original burial-transit permit issued pursuant to s. 382.007. The remains may not be dissected, segmented, or disarticulated until the district medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred or the remains were found grants approval pursuant to s. 406.11.
(b) A nontransplant anatomical donation organization must obtain specific written consent for the dissection, segmentation, or disarticulation of any part of the remains from a person who is authorized under s. 765.512 to give such consent. Such consent must expressly state that the remains may undergo long-term preservation or extensive preparation, including, but not limited to, removal of the head, arms, legs, hands, feet, spine, organs, tissues, or fluids.
(3) A person, institution, or organization may not offer in exchange for human remains any monetary inducement or other valuable consideration, including goods or services, to a donor, a legally authorized person, the donor’s estate, or any other third party. As used in this subsection, the term “valuable consideration” does not include, and this subsection does not prohibit, payment or reimbursement of the reasonable costs associated with the removal, storage, and transportation of human remains, including payment or reimbursement of a funeral establishment or removal service licensed under chapter 497 or the reasonable costs after use, including payment or reimbursement for the disposition of human remains pursuant to s. 406.60.
(4) An entity accredited by the American Association of Museums may convey plastinated human remains or any part thereof within, into, or outside the state for exhibition and public educational purposes without the consent of the anatomical board if the accredited entity:
(a) Notifies the anatomical board of the conveyance and the duration and location of the exhibition at least 30 days before the intended conveyance.
(b) Submits to the anatomical board a description of the remains or any part thereof and the name and address of the company providing the remains or any part thereof.
(c) Submits to the anatomical board documentation that the remains or each part thereof was donated by the decedent or his or her next of kin for purposes of plastination and public exhibition, or, in lieu of such documentation, an affidavit stating that the remains or each part thereof was donated directly by the decedent or his or her next of kin for such purposes to the company providing the remains and that such company has a donation form on file for the remains.
History.s. 16, ch. 28163, 1953; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 144, ch. 71-136; s. 4, ch. 72-40; s. 3, ch. 91-168; s. 1, ch. 93-3; s. 10, ch. 96-251; s. 1, ch. 2009-128; s. 10, ch. 2013-16; s. 16, ch. 2013-138.
Note.Former s. 245.16.