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The Florida Senate

CS/SB 1048 — Public Records/Conviction Integrity Unit Reinvestigation Information

by Judiciary Committee and Senators Bean and Baxley

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Criminal Justice Committee (CJ)

The bill creates a public records exemption for conviction integrity unit reinvestigation information. Conviction integrity unit reinvestigation information is defined as information or materials generated during a new investigation by a conviction integrity unit following the unit’s formal written acceptance of an applicant’s case. The bill contains specific exceptions to the term “conviction integrity unit reinvestigation information,” which are:

  • Information, materials, or records generated by a state attorney’s office during an investigation done for the purpose of responding to motions made pursuant to Rule 3.800, Rule 3.850, or Rule 3.853, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, or any other collateral proceeding;
  • Petitions by applicants to the conviction integrity unit; or
  • Criminal investigative information generated before the commencement of a conviction integrity unit investigation which is not otherwise exempt.

The bill defines the term “conviction integrity unit” as a unit within a state attorney’s office established for the purpose of reviewing plausible claims of actual innocence.

The conviction integrity unit reinvestigation information is made exempt from public inspection and copying for a reasonable period of time during an active, ongoing, and good faith investigation of a claim of actual innocence in a case that previously resulted in the conviction of the accused person and until the claim is no longer capable of further investigation. This exemption appears to be no more broad than necessary to accomplish the public interest of safeguarding, preserving, and protecting information relating to a claim of actual innocence by a person who may have been convicted of a crime that he or she did not commit.

The bill provides the public necessity statement for the public records exemption. The bill makes legislative findings in support of the public necessity for the exemption.

The bill is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act and stands repealed on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from the repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2021.

Vote: Senate 38-0; House 117-0