BY BUDDY NEVINS
I wonder if accused wife-beating political consultant Bill Lewis will be one of the first tests of a new law passed earlier this year?
Lewis’ wife appears to have withdrawn her complaints about him choking her.
The new law, however, changes what testimony is requited in domestic violence.
Previously, a conviction required the victim to testify against their abuser. Now statements made to 911 operators, cops and others can be admitted into evidence.
I’m not a lawyer or a judge. I won’t go further that pointing out there is a new law governing these cases.
Here is the original news release about the law, which passed the Senate and was signed by Gov. Rick Scott without substantial changes:
State Representative Ana Rivas Logan Passes HB 701
Bill will positively impact domestic violence prosecutions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2012
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today the Florida House of Representatives passed CS/HB 701 Florida Evidence Code by Representative Ana Rivas Logan (R‐Kendall) and Representative Doug Holder(R‐ Sarasota). The bill will allow statements made against a party that wrongfully caused a declarant’s unavailability not to be excluded as hearsay.
“This bill will help victims of domestic violence gain the justice they deserve,” said Representative Ana Rivas Logan.
Currently under the Crawford decision a declarant must face their abuser in court in order for the charges to move forward. Under the new law, calls to 911 operators and statements made to first responders, hospital workers and social workers will be admitted into evidence.
“Domestic violence has been described as the most common but least prosecuted crime in America. This important legislation will give voice to victims and prevent offenders from committing acts of violence with no fear of prosecution,” said Rep. Holder.
The measure now awaits passage by the Senate before moving to the Governor’s desk for his signature.