Florida House wants to conceal murder witnesses’ identities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida House is poised to approve a bill that would conceal the identities of those who have witnessed a murder from public records.

House members prepared the bill for a final vote on Wednesday after the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cynthia Stafford, said it would encourage murder witnesses to come forward and bring perpetrators to justice. If passed, the bill would keep witnesses’ personal information confidential for two years after the murder occurred.

The Florida First Amendment Foundation has scrutinized the effort, saying it would prevent the public from obtaining all the information in murder cases. While the information of a witness would be concealed in the discovery given to a suspect in the case, investigating agencies and prosecutors would still have access to it.

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