A new bill now allows secret recordings, made by victims or potential victims of rape and other violent acts, to be used as evidence in court.
Signed by Governor Rick Scott, the bill was a response to the Florida Supreme Court ordering a new trial for Richard McDade, who was convicted of repeatedly raping his stepdaughter when she was between 10 and 16.
A judge in the first trial allowed recordings of conversations McDade, 68, had with his stepdaughter, which she secretly recorded with an MP3 player hidden under her shirt.
The case went on appeal to the Supreme Court which ultimately ruled the recording illegal and ordered a new trial last December.
Florida prohibits conversations to be recorded or otherwise intercepted without the consent of both parties.
The new law allowing for victims of rape to record their attackers will take effect July 1.
The recordings were excluded from the second trial, leading to McDade’s acquittal.
Even if the Legislature and Scott acted sooner with this bill, the Lee County state attorney’s office said the recordings wouldn’t have been allowed at the second trial because they were illegal at the time they were made.
What this bill allows is a good step towards protecting our children and I am hopeful that more changes are coming to continue those efforts.
A copy of the transmittal letter can be found HERE.