2010 Florida Statutes
Postsentencing DNA testing.
Postsentencing DNA testing.—
PETITION FOR EXAMINATION.—
A person who has been tried and found guilty of committing a felony and has been sentenced by a court established by the laws of this state may petition that court to order the examination of physical evidence collected at the time of the investigation of the crime for which he or she has been sentenced that may contain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and that would exonerate that person or mitigate the sentence that person received.
A person who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony prior to July 1, 2006, and has been sentenced by a court established by the laws of this state may petition that court to order the examination of physical evidence collected at the time of the investigation of the crime for which he or she has been sentenced that may contain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and that would exonerate that person.
A petition for postsentencing DNA testing under paragraph (a) may be filed or considered at any time following the date that the judgment and sentence in the case becomes final.
METHOD FOR SEEKING POSTSENTENCING DNA TESTING.—
The petition for postsentencing DNA testing must be made under oath by the sentenced defendant and must include the following:
A statement of the facts relied on in support of the petition, including a description of the physical evidence containing DNA to be tested and, if known, the present location or the last known location of the evidence and how it was originally obtained;
A statement that the evidence was not previously tested for DNA or a statement that the results of any previous DNA testing were inconclusive and that subsequent scientific developments in DNA testing techniques would likely produce a definitive result establishing that the petitioner is not the person who committed the crime;
A statement that the sentenced defendant is innocent and how the DNA testing requested by the petition will exonerate the defendant of the crime for which the defendant was sentenced or will mitigate the sentence received by the defendant for that crime;
A statement that identification of the defendant is a genuinely disputed issue in the case, and why it is an issue;
Any other facts relevant to the petition; and
A certificate that a copy of the petition has been served on the prosecuting authority.
Upon receiving the petition, the clerk of the court shall file it and deliver the court file to the assigned judge.
The court shall review the petition and deny it if it is insufficient. If the petition is sufficient, the prosecuting authority shall be ordered to respond to the petition within 30 days.
Upon receiving the response of the prosecuting authority, the court shall review the response and enter an order on the merits of the petition or set the petition for hearing.
Counsel may be appointed to assist the sentenced defendant if the petition proceeds to a hearing and if the court determines that the assistance of counsel is necessary and makes the requisite finding of indigency.
The court shall make the following findings when ruling on the petition:
Whether the sentenced defendant has shown that the physical evidence that may contain DNA still exists;
Whether the results of DNA testing of that physical evidence would be admissible at trial and whether there exists reliable proof to establish that the evidence has not been materially altered and would be admissible at a future hearing; and
Whether there is a reasonable probability that the sentenced defendant would have been acquitted or would have received a lesser sentence if the DNA evidence had been admitted at trial.
If the court orders DNA testing of the physical evidence, the cost of such testing may be assessed against the sentenced defendant unless he or she is indigent. If the sentenced defendant is indigent, the state shall bear the cost of the DNA testing ordered by the court.
Any DNA testing ordered by the court shall be carried out by the Department of Law Enforcement or its designee, as provided in s. 943.3251.
The results of the DNA testing ordered by the court shall be provided to the court, the sentenced defendant, and the prosecuting authority.
RIGHT TO APPEAL; REHEARING.—
An appeal from the court’s order on the petition for postsentencing DNA testing may be taken by any adversely affected party.
An order denying relief shall include a statement that the sentenced defendant has the right to appeal within 30 days after the order denying relief is entered.
The sentenced defendant may file a motion for rehearing of any order denying relief within 15 days after service of the order denying relief. The time for filing an appeal shall be tolled until an order on the motion for rehearing has been entered.
The clerk of the court shall serve on all parties a copy of any order rendered with a certificate of service, including the date of service.
PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE.—
Governmental entities that may be in possession of any physical evidence in the case, including, but not limited to, any investigating law enforcement agency, the clerk of the court, the prosecuting authority, or the Department of Law Enforcement shall maintain any physical evidence collected at the time of the crime for which a postsentencing testing of DNA may be requested.
In a case in which the death penalty is imposed, the evidence shall be maintained for 60 days after execution of the sentence. In all other cases, a governmental entity may dispose of the physical evidence if the term of the sentence imposed in the case has expired and no other provision of law or rule requires that the physical evidence be preserved or retained.
s. 1, ch. 2001-97; s. 1, ch. 2004-67; s. 1, ch. 2006-292.