Terms Used In Florida Statutes 394.918

  • Department: means the Department of Children and Families. See Florida Statutes 394.912
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Likely to engage in acts of sexual violence: means the person's propensity to commit acts of sexual violence is of such a degree as to pose a menace to the health and safety of others. See Florida Statutes 394.912
  • Person: means an individual 18 years of age or older who is a potential or actual subject of proceedings under this part. See Florida Statutes 394.912
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.

(1) A person committed under this part shall have an examination of his or her mental condition once every year or more frequently at the court’s discretion. The person may retain or, if the person is indigent and so requests, the court may appoint, a qualified professional to examine the person. Such a professional shall have access to all records concerning the person. The results of the examination shall be provided to the court that committed the person under this part. Upon receipt of the report, the court shall conduct a review of the person’s status.
(2) The department shall provide the person with annual written notice of the person’s right to petition the court for release over the objection of the director of the facility where the person is housed. The notice must contain a waiver of rights. The director of the facility shall forward the notice and waiver form to the court.
(3) The court shall hold a limited hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the person’s condition has so changed that it is safe for the person to be at large and that the person will not engage in acts of sexual violence if discharged. The person has the right to be represented by counsel at the probable cause hearing and the right to be present. Both the petitioner and the respondent may present evidence that the court may weigh and consider. If the court determines that there is probable cause to believe it is safe to release the person, the court shall set a trial before the court on the issue.
(4) At the trial before the court, the person is entitled to be present and is entitled to the benefit of all constitutional protections afforded the person at the initial trial, except for the right to a jury. The state attorney shall represent the state and has the right to have the person examined by professionals chosen by the state. At the hearing, the state bears the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person’s mental condition remains such that it is not safe for the person to be at large and that, if released, the person is likely to engage in acts of sexual violence.