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‘Judicial notice’ of web mapping services bill hits the governor’s desk

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Sen. Jennifer Bradley

Sen. Jennifer Bradley

The Legislature has sent Gov. Ron DeSantis a measure that would authorize courts to take “judicial notice” of information gleaned from internet mapping services.

The measure, SB 634 by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Orange Park, was delivered May 6. DeSantis has until May 20 to act.

The measure would allow a court, upon a motion by a party, to take judicial notice of images, maps, distance calculations, and other information provided by widely accepted internet services, such as Google Maps.

When she presented the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Bradley said the measure would help conserve judicial resources by making it easier to admit evidence.

“It will make the process a lot smoother for trials,” Bradley said.

The measure creates a rebuttable presumption that the information is correct, but it allows a party to object.

A court could overcome the presumption if it finds that the information “does not fairly and accurately portray what is being offered to prove” or “otherwise should not be admitted into evidence.”

Another provision requires a court in criminal cases to “instruct the jury that the jury may or may not accept the noticed facts as conclusive.”

Jacksonville attorney Curry Pajcic, who chairs the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee, told the Judiciary Committee that satellite imaging can be used by the courts to verify such things as roof damage in insurance disputes.

“This is a common-sense bill that just adds to judicial economy,” he said.

Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, sponsored the companion, HB 677.

DeSantis has the option of singing the measure, vetoing it, or allowing it to become law without his signature.

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