In a reassuring act of bi-partisanship, State Representative Spencer Roach (R-FL), and State Senator Lauren Book (D-FL), have taken the liberty to simultaneously file bills (HB 465) and (SB 1328)to protect vulnerable victims and witnesses, in their respective chambers.
The legislation today, if passed would prohibit the deposition in minors, the intellectually disabled, and sexual offense victims dealing in cases of murder, sexual battery, human trafficking, and other heinous offenses unless certain good faith measures are met.
Luckily, the officials at hand have realized the severity of these issues supersede the contrasts of their political ideologies as Roach claims he is, “proud to partner with Senator Book on this important issue.”
The state representative made clear that he wants to champion this cause because “the safety and welfare of our children and other vulnerable populations are paramount to me and I am confident this legislation will help victims in seeking the justice they deserve.”
Both Book and Roach author their bills from the heart as Book, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, claims from her own experience that, “vulnerable victims of crime should be protected, but too often, depositions are used as a weapon against them.”
Book alienates the current problem at hand for victims, saying that “while intended to help discover what the victim- a key witness – knows, and preserve their testimony, depositions have increasingly become a vehicle to intimidate, harass, discredit and to dissuade victims and their families from pursuing justice.”
Book as a result promises that this legislation, “will shield victims from this painful process.”
As for Roach, a licensed foster parent believes, “For too long, defendants and their legal teams have used depositions to intimidate and scare victims into recanting their testimony or refusing to testify.”
While all Floridians may be able to kick back and enjoy the political unity, we are obligated to remain cautious and not tip the scales of justice too far into one direction.