Chapter 936 Inquests Of The Dead

Published: 2015

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936.001 Purpose.

936.002 “Inquest” defined.

936.003 Procedure.

936.001 Purpose.—The purpose of this chapter is to provide a procedure whereby a public inquest may be made into a death for which an autopsy is required, when there is a question of the occurrence of a criminal act, criminal negligence, or foul play associated with the death.
History.—s. 1, ch. 77-294.

936.002 “Inquest” defined.—As used in this chapter, the term “inquest” means a formal, nonadversary, nonjury presentation of evidence concerning a death, discovered by the medical examiner, state attorney, and law enforcement agency during their respective examinations and investigations into the death.
History.—s. 1, ch. 77-294.

936.003 Procedure.—
(1) The state attorney may petition the county court in the county in which the body was found to hold an inquest into any death for which an examination, investigation, or autopsy is required to be performed by the medical examiner pursuant to the provisions of s. 406.11 when there is a question of the involvement of a criminal act, criminal negligence, or foul play in the death. The county court judge presiding at the inquest shall be deemed coroner only insofar as she or he is empowered to thus preside. Except as provided in this subsection, all duties and responsibilities of a coroner provided by law shall be vested in a medical examiner regulated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 406.

(2) Upon receipt of the petition of the state attorney, the county court judge shall schedule the time and place of the inquest. The county court judge shall send her or his warrant for witnesses, to be served by a sheriff, commanding the witnesses to come to the inquest to be examined and to declare their knowledge concerning the death. Any witness appearing at, or summoned to appear at, an inquest shall be entitled to the same compensation as that provided by law for witnesses in any criminal proceeding held in the county.

(3) After the evidence has been presented, the court shall deliver a verdict stating whether or not there exists probable cause to believe that the death was the result of a criminal act, criminal negligence, or foul play. The verdict shall also state the name of the person or persons believed to be responsible for the death, if reasonably known.

(4) All inquests shall be open to the public.

History.—ss. 1, 2, ch. 77-294; s. 297, ch. 79-400; s. 1588, ch. 97-102.