Florida Senate - 2024                                     SB 234
       By Senator Polsky
       30-00454-24                                            2024234__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to disclosure of grand jury testimony;
    3         amending s. 905.27, F.S.; revising the list of persons
    4         prohibited from disclosing the testimony of a witness
    5         examined before, or the evidence received by, a grand
    6         jury; creating an exception for a request by the media
    7         or an interested person to the prohibited publishing,
    8         broadcasting, disclosing, divulging, or communicating
    9         of any testimony of a witness examined before the
   10         grand jury, or the content, gist, or import thereof;
   11         providing criminal penalties; providing construction;
   12         making technical changes; reenacting s. 905.17(1) and
   13         (2), F.S., relating to who may be present during a
   14         session of a grand jury, to incorporate the amendment
   15         made to s. 905.27, F.S., in references thereto;
   16         providing an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Section 905.27, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   21  read:
   22         905.27 Testimony not to be disclosed; exceptions.—
   23         (1) Persons present or appearing during a grand jury
   24  proceeding, including a grand juror, a state attorney, an
   25  assistant state attorney, a reporter, a stenographer, or an
   26  interpreter, as well as the custodian of a grand jury record,
   27  may not or any other person appearing before the grand jury
   28  shall not disclose the testimony of a witness examined before
   29  the grand jury or other evidence received by it except when
   30  required by a court to disclose the testimony for the purpose
   31  of:
   32         (a) Ascertaining whether it is consistent with the
   33  testimony given by the witness before the court;
   34         (b) Determining whether the witness is guilty of perjury;
   35  or
   36         (c) Furthering justice, which may encompass furthering a
   37  public interest when the disclosure is requested pursuant to
   38  paragraph (2)(c).
   39         (2) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to publish,
   40  broadcast, disclose, divulge, or communicate to any other
   41  person, or knowingly to cause or permit to be published,
   42  broadcast, disclosed, divulged, or communicated to any other
   43  person, in any manner whatsoever, any testimony of a witness
   44  examined before the grand jury, or the content, gist, or import
   45  thereof, except when such testimony is or has been disclosed in
   46  a court proceeding in any of the following circumstances:.
   47         (a) When a court orders the disclosure of such testimony
   48  pursuant to subsection (1) for use in a criminal case, it may be
   49  disclosed to the prosecuting attorney of the court in which such
   50  criminal case is pending, and by the prosecuting attorney to his
   51  or her assistants, legal associates, and employees, and to the
   52  defendant and the defendant’s attorney, and by the latter to his
   53  or her legal associates and employees. However, the grand jury
   54  testimony afforded such persons by the court may only be used in
   55  the defense or prosecution of the criminal case and for no other
   56  purpose.
   57         (b) When a court orders the such disclosure of such
   58  testimony is ordered by a court pursuant to subsection (1) for
   59  use in a civil case, it may be disclosed to all parties to the
   60  case and to their attorneys and by the latter to their legal
   61  associates and employees. However, the grand jury testimony
   62  afforded such persons by the court may can only be used in the
   63  defense or prosecution of the civil or criminal case and for no
   64  other purpose whatsoever.
   65         (c)When a court orders the disclosure of such testimony
   66  pursuant to subsection (1) in response to a request by the media
   67  or an interested person, regardless of whether that purpose is
   68  use of the testimony in a criminal or civil case, it may be
   69  disclosed if the subject of the grand jury inquiry is deceased,
   70  the grand jury inquiry is related to criminal or sexual activity
   71  between a subject of the grand jury investigation and a person
   72  who at the time was a minor, the testimony was previously
   73  disclosed by a court order, and the state attorney is provided
   74  notice of the request. This paragraph does not restrict the
   75  court’s ability to limit the disclosure of testimony, including,
   76  but not limited to, by redaction.
   77         (3) Nothing in This section does not shall affect the
   78  attorney-client relationship. A client has shall have the right
   79  to communicate to his or her attorney any testimony given by the
   80  client to the grand jury, any matters involving the client
   81  discussed in the client’s presence before the grand jury, and
   82  any evidence involving the client received by or proffered to
   83  the grand jury in the client’s presence.
   84         (4) A person who violates Persons convicted of violating
   85  this section commits shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the
   86  first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083, or by fine
   87  not exceeding $5,000, or both.
   88         (5) A violation of this section constitutes shall
   89  constitute criminal contempt of court.
   90         Section 2. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
   91  made by this act to section 905.27, Florida Statutes, in
   92  references thereto, subsections (1) and (2) of section 905.17,
   93  Florida Statutes, are reenacted to read:
   94         905.17 Who may be present during session of grand jury.—
   95         (1) No person shall be present at the sessions of the grand
   96  jury except the witness under examination, one attorney
   97  representing the witness for the sole purpose of advising and
   98  consulting with the witness, the state attorney and her or his
   99  assistant state attorneys, designated assistants as provided for
  100  in s. 27.18, the court reporter or stenographer, and the
  101  interpreter. The stenographic records, notes, and transcriptions
  102  made by the court reporter or stenographer shall be filed with
  103  the clerk who shall keep them in a sealed container not subject
  104  to public inspection. The notes, records, and transcriptions are
  105  confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and
  106  s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and shall be released
  107  by the clerk only on request by a grand jury for use by the
  108  grand jury or on order of the court pursuant to s. 905.27.
  109         (2) The witness may be represented before the grand jury by
  110  one attorney. This provision is permissive only and does not
  111  create a right to counsel for the grand jury witness. The
  112  attorney for the witness shall not be permitted to address the
  113  grand jurors, raise objections, make arguments, or otherwise
  114  disrupt proceedings before the grand jury. The attorney for the
  115  witness shall be permitted to advise and counsel the witness and
  116  shall be subject to the provisions of s. 905.27 in the same
  117  manner as all who appear before the grand jury. An attorney or
  118  law firm may not represent more than one person or entity in an
  119  investigation before the same grand jury or successive grand
  120  juries in the same investigation.
  121         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.