Florida Case & All Criminal Charges Dropped Against Robert Kraft
In late September, Florida prosecutors officially dropped all criminal charges of solicited prostitution against Robert Kraft in connection with the case brought against him last year, alleging that he engaged in these acts at the Orchids of Asia Day spa. The case fell apart earlier in August when the Florida appeals court upheld the district court ruling that the police violated Fourth Amendment protections in setting up unlimited, continuous surveillance of the spa that captured all clients, including those who engaged in both illegal and legal acts, and barred the evidence from being introduced at trial.
As a result, prosecutors were left with insufficient evidence to support a prosecution and, according to statements released by state attorney general Ashley Moody, continuing to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court could have broad, negative implications affecting law enforcement in future cases. A judge will now decide whether the footage will be permanently destroyed, pursuant to a motion filed by Kraft, even though prosecutors have indicated that felony charges against the owner and manager of the spa will still move forward. A class-action case has also been filed against the state attorney who filed charges against Kraft and a number of other men.
Another Win for Fourth Amendment Protections & Minimizing Surveillance
Prosecutors frequently argue that the Fourth Amendment allows judges to issue warrants if police demonstrate probable cause and they need only specify the location of the search and what can be seized. In this case, police set up the video recording to run indiscriminately in each of the facility’s rooms for the entire three days of the investigation, capturing every patron who went into the facility–regardless of whether or not they were engaging in any illegal activities–and police failed to describe how they would minimize their surveillance in their warrant applications, ultimately arguing that they were not required to do so, and afterward even that they had effectively done so by only recording for three days total.
However, in throwing out the video evidence due to constitutional violations, several judges chastised the police for how they procured warrants to install the hidden cameras. A number of rulings out of the US Supreme Court have expanded Fourth Amendment protections, including some that specifically apply to electronic surveillance used by police. As a result, the decision is an important one in terms of upholding surveillance minimization requirements in order to protect civilians’ rights.
What About Privacy Rights?
Kraft also argued that he and other patrons possessed a reasonable expectation of privacy in the rooms where they were recorded, although prosecutors argued that even if their privacy rights were violated, only improperly-seized evidence should be thrown out and any and all other recordings permitted as evidence in the case. In addition to holding that the recordings violated rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, the appeals court also held that this type of “covert, intrusive video surveillance is subject to heightened standards and procedures,” while not directly speaking to the right to privacy, However, the concurrence affirmed the decision based on the guarantee of this right by Florida’s Constitution, as well as Florida’s statutory prohibition against the use of audio surveillance for prostitution-related offenses.
If You Have Any Questions About Sex Crime or Other Criminal Charges in Florida, Contact Our Defense Team Today
If you have any questions about sex crime offense charges or any other criminal charges in Florida, contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys of The Baez Law Firm for a free consultation to find out how we can use our vast experience, resources, and skills to serve you.