03-11-2009, 05:43 PM #1
Florida's Son of Sam law
NG has on numerous occasions, when asked if Casey could profit if convicted of Caylee's murder, cited an overturning of Son of Sam laws by the US Supreme Court. However, she is talking about federal law, not Florida state laws. Unfortunately, apparently neither she nor her lawyer experts or her staff have researched the actual state law.
I think whether she can profit if convicted is a very interesting point, especially in light of the reports that photos and videos of Caylee may be the source of funds for her defense.
I did a little digging and here's the language of the main Florida statute addressing this. Note it covers not only the convicted felon but anyone else they may assign to receive the funds. Also, it calls for the state to be reimbursed for court costs after any victims or victims' families receive compensation. That could be an interesting issue in this case. None of this would kick in until there is a conviction, however.
There's another Florida law that allows for the state to place a lien against any real or personal property, royalties or commissions, etc. owned by the convicted person or held by anyone on their behalf for civil restitution.
There's an excellent explanation of the laws on page 4-5 of this 2005 state Senate bill. The bill, which would have expanded the law to include memorabilia doesn't appear to have passed, since the language in the actual law doesn't reflect the language in the bill. However, that doesn't affect this explanation of the existing law.
And here's the language of the actual law.
A lien prior in dignity to all others shall exist in favor of the state upon royalties, commissions, proceeds of sale, or any other thing of value payable to or accruing to a convicted felon or a person on her or his behalf, including any person to whom the proceeds may be transferred or assigned by gift or otherwise, from any literary, cinematic, or other account of the crime for which she or he was convicted. A conviction shall be defined as a guilty verdict by a jury or judge, or a guilty or nolo contendere plea by the defendant, regardless of adjudication of guilt. The lien shall attach at the time of the conviction in county or circuit court. In the event of an appeal, the funds will be held in the Revolving Escrow Trust Fund of the Department of Legal Affairs until the appeal is resolved.
(2) The proceeds of such account shall be distributed in the following order:
(a) Twenty-five percent to the dependents of the convicted felon. If there are no dependents, this portion shall be distributed to the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund to be distributed as awards for crime victims.
(b) Twenty-five percent to the victim or victims of the crime or to their dependents, to the extent of their damages as determined by the court in the lien enforcement proceedings. If there are no victims or dependents, or if their damages are less than 25 percent of the proceeds, this portion, or its remainder, shall be distributed to the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund to be distributed as awards to crime victims.
(c) After payments have been made pursuant to paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), an amount equal to pay all court costs in the prosecution of the convicted felon, which shall include, but not be limited to, jury fees and expenses, court reporter fees, and reasonable per diem for the prosecuting attorneys for the state, shall go to the General Revenue Fund. Additional costs shall be assessed for the computed per capita cost of imprisonment or supervision by the state or county correctional system. Such costs shall be determined and certified by the prosecuting attorney and the imprisoning entity and subject to review by the Auditor General.
(d) The rest, residue, and remainder to the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund to be distributed as awards to crime victims.
(3) A judge may place a lien prior in dignity to all others in favor of the state or county upon any financial settlement payable to or accruing to a convicted offender or person on her or his behalf, as a result of injury incurred during or at the time of a violation of the state law, or as a result of an attempt to flee apprehension for the offense for which the offender was convicted. A conviction is defined as in subsection (1). The lien shall be attached by order of the judge at the time of the conviction in county or circuit court. In the event of an appeal, the funds shall be held in the Revolving Escrow Trust Fund of the Department of Legal Affairs until the appeal is resolved.
(4) The proceeds of such account shall be distributed in the following order:
(a) Payment of all medical care, treatment, hospitalization, and transportation resulting from said injury.
(b) Payment to the victim or victims of the crime or to their dependents, to the extent of their damages as determined by the court in the lien enforcement proceeding.
(c) Payment of all court costs in the prosecution of the convicted felon, which shall include, but not be limited to, jury fees and expense, court reporter fees, and reasonable per diem for the prosecuting attorneys and public defenders.
(d) Payment of cost of incarceration in state or county facilities.
(e) The rest, residue, remainder to the injured party.
(5) The department is hereby authorized and directed to report to the Department of Legal Affairs the existence or reasonably expected existence of circumstances which would be covered by this section. Upon such notification, the Department of Legal Affairs is authorized and directed to take such legal action as is necessary to perfect and enforce the lien created by this section.
03-11-2009, 09:02 PM #2
Wow. Am I the only one who thinks this issue is interesting?
I wonder if, under this law, the state can go after any money made by selling photos and videos. Although the first code only speaks of the story of the crime, it looks to me like the second law would allow them to go after proceeds from anything other than their home, related to the crime or not.
BTW, I wonder if the first law is why Baez talked in his recent filing about having no contract to sell Casey's "story," whatever that means, but made no mention of photos and other things that might be sold.
03-11-2009, 09:08 PM #3
Thank you, I was very interested.
03-11-2009, 10:57 PM #4
I am currently reading "Are You There Alone" about Andrea Yates. The night NG mentioned the Son of Sam Law I came upon that in my book. Although it talks about Texas law, it also talks about signing rights over for book or movie:
P (is her lawyer) was loyal to Yates. He visited her in prison, wrote to her, lifted her spirits. He gave away legal time for which other lawyers would have billed. In late April 2002, Yates signed over the life rights to her story to P, creating an uproar that reached to the Texas Attorney General's office in Austin. Houston's Victims Assistance Center saw the transfer of rights as a possible end run around Texas law, which prohibits convicts from making money from their crimes. The statute is identical to the "Son of Sam" law, named for the case of the 1977 New York serial killer, which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 1991. P said any proceeds would be used to cover Yate's legal expenses and to provide funding for the Yates Children Memorial Fund for Women's Health Education (YCMF), administered by the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston at 2211 Norfolk, Houston, TX 77098. P had made no secret of looking for commercial projects that might pay for the trial transcript and fund an appeal of his client's conviction. He said he consulted the State Bar of Texas before accepting the rights assignment and was satisfied that the action was legal. P and People correspondent GC circulated a book proposal promising access to P's personal stash of defense documents. His story didn't sell to New York Publishers. Later, P signed a book option agreement with field producer JJ of CBS's 48 hours. J and DR planned a book with a foreward by DR and a doumentary-style television interview of Yates.
This is so much like the Anthony case. You'll note that in Yates case her lawyer, P, consulted the State Bar before considering book deals, etc.
03-11-2009, 11:00 PM #5
No one should profit from the death of a person if they were guilty.........aka OJ for 1
and all these others!Kyron, HALEIGH, ADJI & Gabriel NEEDS PRAYERS NOW TO FIND THEM!. Zahra & Jonathan in heaven
Justice for Hailey!!!!
No Justice for Caylee Marie..........
03-11-2009, 11:30 PM #6