(1) At the sentencing hearing, and prior to the imposition of sentence upon any defendant who has been convicted of any felony or who has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any crime, including a criminal violation of a provision of chapter 316, the sentencing court shall permit the victim of the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced, the victim’s parent or guardian if the victim is a minor, the lawful representative of the victim or of the victim’s parent or guardian if the victim is a minor, or the next of kin of the victim if the victim has died from causes related to the crime, to:
(a) Appear before the sentencing court for the purpose of making a statement under oath for the record; and
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 921.143
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
- minor: includes any person who has not attained the age of 18 years. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Nolo contendere: No contest-has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
- oath: includes affirmations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
- Plea agreement: An arrangement between the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for special considerations. Source:
- Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
- Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
(b) Submit a written statement under oath to the office of the state attorney, which statement shall be filed with the sentencing court.
(2) The state attorney or any assistant state attorney shall advise all victims or, when appropriate, the victim’s parent, guardian, next of kin, or lawful representative that statements, whether oral or written, shall relate to the facts of the case and the extent of any harm, including social, psychological, or physical harm, financial losses, loss of earnings directly or indirectly resulting from the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced, and any matter relevant to an appropriate disposition and sentence.
(3)(a) This subsection shall be known by the popular name the “Officer Cheryl Seiden Act.”
(b) The court may not accept a plea agreement that prohibits a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer from appearing or speaking at a parole hearing or clemency hearing.
(c) In any case in which the victim is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer, a plea agreement may not prohibit the officer or an authorized representative of the officer’s employing agency from appearing or providing a statement at the sentencing hearing.
(d) As used in this subsection, the terms “law enforcement officer,” “correctional officer,” “correctional probation officer,” and “employing agency” have the meanings ascribed in s. 943.10.
(e) This subsection does not impair any right afforded under chapter 960 or under s. 16(b), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(4) The court may refuse to accept a negotiated plea and order the defendant to stand trial.