Alleged sex crime victim’s secret recordings found inadmissible in FL
The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that a secret recording made by the alleged victim of a sex crime is not admissible as evidence.
The evidence used in criminal cases must meet strict standards to ensure that the rights of the accused are not violated. As many people in Tampa know, in most cases, evidence that has been acquired illegally cannot be used against a person in court. The Florida Supreme Court recently upheld this standard with a ruling that secret recordings taken by the alleged victims of sex crimes are, like most other secret recordings, not admissible as evidence.
Legality of secret recordings
Florida law does not allow people to record conversations unless every party participating in the conversation consents to the recording, according to The Miami Herald. Since secret recordings are illegal and evidence obtained in an illegal matter is generally inadmissible in court, in most cases, secret recordings are not accepted as evidence. However, state law does recognize a few cases that merit exceptions.
The state Supreme Court recently weighed whether secret recordings can be admissible when the recordings are furnished by alleged victims of criminal activity. The court considered the case of a man who had been convicted of five charges, including sexual battery of a child younger than 12, based on secret audio recordings that the alleged victim took.
New trial ordered
A lower appeals court previously considered this case and found that the accused man’s reasonable right to privacy did not outweigh the state’s interest in protecting an alleged victim of sexual abuse. However, the state Supreme Court found that the alleged victims of criminal activity are not exempt from the law banning secret recordings.
The court noted that making such an exception could be considered reasonable, especially for certain types of crimes. However, the exception would have to be formally made through new legislation, since current state laws do not support such an exception.
The court ruled that the man must receive a new trial because inadmissible evidence was introduced during his previous trial. The outcome of the new trial may be significantly different. According to The Miami Herald, the alleged victim does not have other physical evidence, such as DNA evidence, to support the allegations of sexual offenses; the recordings were the primary evidence against the man.
Sex crime consequences
Allegations of sexual misconduct that result in convictions can have devastating consequences for those accused. For instance, sexual battery of a person less than 12 years old is considered a capital or life felony in Florida. This type of offense is punishable with life in prison without parole, which is what the man accused in this case faced before his new trial was ordered.
Anyone facing accusations of sexual misconduct, regardless of the circumstances, should consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney about legal rights and potential means of handling the charges.
Keywords: sex, crime, arrest