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Doctors Profit From Sexual Predator Cases

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Doctors, psychologists and other mental-health experts who serve as expert witnesses in sexual predator cases have charged Florida taxpayers more than $26 million the past 14 years.

A 1999 law designed to keep offenders with mental abnormalities beyond their prison term has created a financial boom for expert witnesses, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Almost half of the $26 million in charges went to just 10 psychological experts who charge about $200 an hour for testimony, travel and even waiting to testify at the hearings. The newspaper compiled charges from the Florida’s Justice Administrative Commission, which handles court system billing.

The investigation found that charges often rack up when defense attorneys “doctor shop,” trying out as many as 10 experts for their client.   Experts are paid for their work, regardless of whether they testify, the investigation found.

This latest story is part of an ongoing Sun Sentinel investigation into how nearly 600 of the state’s convicted sexual predators committed new sex crimes after being evaluated and released.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.