TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Attorney General Charlie Crist today commended Governor Jeb Bush for signing the “False Witness” bill into law. The new law, which was among Crist’s legislative priorities this year, makes it a criminal offense for anyone to knowingly provide false or misleading information to law enforcement officers as they conduct felony or missing person investigations.
“This law, born of tragedy, will save lives,” said Crist. “It sends the clear message that lying to a law enforcement officer will not be overlooked or brushed aside. I join the people of Florida in thanking Governor Bush and the Legislature for this strong public safety measure.”
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Jeff Atwater and Representatives Michael Grant and Charlie Dean, was prompted by the investigation into the disappearance of Jessica Lunsford, whose body was found not far from her home. As law enforcement officers investigated, acquaintances and a relative of the man eventually charged with the brutal murder were not forthcoming with authorities regarding his whereabouts.
Prosecutors concluded they had no avenue to charge the relatives under existing Florida law.
The new law gives prosecutors the means to charge those who stand in the way of investigations and subjects violators to up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.