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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title VII
Chapter 92
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F.S. 92.53
92.53 Videotaping the testimony of a victim or witness under age 18 or who has an intellectual disability.
(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 18 or who has an intellectual disability as defined in s. 393.063 would suffer at least moderate emotional or mental harm due to the presence of the defendant if such victim or witness is required to testify in open court, or is 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 used 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:
(a) The child or the person who has the intellectual disability 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 must 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 the person who has an intellectual disability by means of a two-way mirror or another similar method that ensures that the defendant can observe and hear the testimony of the victim or witness in person, but 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 who has the intellectual disability and in interpreting the answers of the child or person during 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 is admissible as evidence in the trial of the cause; however, such testimony is not 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. 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; s. 4, ch. 2013-162; s. 1, ch. 2016-199.
Note.Former ss. 918.17, 90.90.