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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 914
WITNESSES; CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
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F.S. 914.17
914.17 Appointment of advocate for victims or witnesses who are minors or intellectually disabled.
(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, 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 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. The guardian ad litem or other advocate shall:
(a) Explain, in language understandable to the minor, all legal proceedings in which the minor is involved;
(b) 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) 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 who has an intellectual disability as defined in s. 393.063 in any criminal proceeding if the person is a victim of or witness to abuse or neglect, a victim of a sexual offense, or a witness to a sexual offense committed against a minor or person who has an intellectual disability. The court may appoint an advocate in any other criminal proceeding in which such person is involved as 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 at all proceedings, and may request additional examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. The advocate shall:
(a) Explain, in language understandable to the person, all legal proceedings in which the person is involved;
(b) Act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge, whenever appropriate, of the person’s ability to understand and cooperate with any court proceedings; and
(c) Assist the person and the person’s family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal proceedings in which the person is involved.
(3) Any person participating in a judicial proceeding as a guardian ad litem or other advocate is presumed prima facie to be acting in good faith and in so doing is immune from any liability, civil or criminal, which 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; s. 26, ch. 2013-162.