The Florida Bar disciplinary case against the Adams and Diaco attorneys has concluded and a decision is pending. A video recording made by the ex husband of the paralegal of the 3 attorneys charged with ethical violations was ultimately not introduced in the disciplinary hearing. According to the ex husband of the paralegal, the video recording contained an admission by the paralegal that she and the 3 attorneys for the firm set up an opponent attorney for a DUI arrest. Attorneys for Adams and Diaco objected to the introduction of the this video recording, under Florida Statute 934, arguing that it was illegally recorded without the consent of the paralegal.
Attorneys Luke Lirot and Nicholas Matassini recently came on Florida You Judge and weighed in on the case and some issues related to this statute. Lirot and Matassini also discussed the recent Florida case McDade v. Florida. In Florida a child molestation victim is prohibited by Florida Statute 934 from surreptitiously recording the offender confirming the criminal act. Florida is a two party consent state and is in the minority of states (12) that have a two party consent statute. California, also a two party consent state, has created an exception to allow someone to obtain evidence of certain criminal acts :
633.5. Nothing in Section 631, 632, 632.5, 632.6, or 632.7
prohibits one party to a confidential communication from recording
the communication for the purpose of obtaining evidence reasonably
believed to relate to the commission by another party to the
communication of the crime of extortion, kidnapping, bribery, any
felony involving violence against the person, or a violation of
Section 653m. Nothing in Section 631, 632, 632.5, 632.6, or 632.7
renders any evidence so obtained inadmissible in a prosecution for
extortion, kidnapping, bribery, any felony involving violence against
the person, a violation of Section 653m, or any crime in connection
Lirot discussed the US Supreme court case, Bartnicki v. Vopper (“Does the First Amendment provide protection to speech that discloses the contents of an illegally intercepted communication? Yes. In a 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court held that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of illegally intercepted communications by parties who did not participate in the illegal interception. “In this case, privacy concerns give way when balanced against the interest in publishing matters of public importance,” wrote Justice Stevens.”)
Should the Florida Legislature create a similar exception to Florida Statute 934 in order that victims of criminal acts can record and gain clear and irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing and not run afoul of the law and be possibly subjected to criminal prosecution in doing so?