Last week the Florida Supreme Court rendered an opinion in Levandoski v. State a case that resolved the conflict between the 1st and 4th District Court of Appeals over whether ‘sex offender probation’ conditions had to be disclosed to the defendant at sentencing. The Supreme Court upheld the 4th DCA’s opinion that, “the court’s oral pronouncement that Levandoski would be subject to ‘sex offender probation’ was sufficient to impose each of the components contained in section 948.30″.

In other words, telling the defendant that he would be subject to ‘sex offender probation’ without detailing all the extra conditions that ‘sex offender probation’ is comprised of, is sufficient.

Two interesting items to point out in the decision. The opinion refers to the Statute which sets forth the conditions of ‘sex offender probation’ as “§ 948.30, Fla. Stat. (2010)” – 2010 being the year. As such, the court is alluding to the fact that the statute, in effect in 2010, when Levandoski was sentenced, was what he should look to when determining what his conditions of probation are. As we know; the 2010 version is different from the 2018 version, which has a lot of “extras” piled on.

Second, in the dissenting opinion, Justice Pariente, says, “this Court has made clear that “special conditions, which are those not specifically authorized by statute, must be orally pronounced at sentencing before they can be placed in the probation order.” Lawson, 969 So. 2d at 227 n.3. This requirement is a safeguard to protect the criminal defendant’s right to due process. “Because a defendant is not on notice of special conditions of probation, these conditions must be pronounced orally at sentencing in order to be included in the written probation order.” State v. Williams, 712 So. 2d 762, 764 (Fla. 1998).”

This raises an interesting point. New conditions and requirements that are added to the sex offender registry are imposed without any court determination as to whether an individual should be subject to them. Its the role of the courts to determine whether someone should be subject to a specific notification requirement or restriction that was not part of the statute when they were sentenced. This is something that will unquestionably be explored.

Another disturbing case decided by the 1st District Court of Appeal was Campbell v State which affirmed Campbell’s continued confinement and upheld the principal that, “Even assuming that no viable treatment is available for sexually violent predators, the Constitution does not prevent the State “from civilly detaining those for whom no treatment is available, but who nevertheless pose a danger to others.” Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. [346] at 366, 117 S. Ct. 2072 (1997)”

The appellant is being held in civil confinement, a term used to define a scheme under which a state can indefinitely confine an individual after their criminal sentence expires, if they are deemed to be a danger to society. Civil commitment is intended to be just that, civil (not punishment) and the confinement is supposed to be for treatment.
The question Campbell raises is; what if the person can’t be treated or there’s no treatment available for them? The Court’s answer; they can still be indefinitely confined.
The decision is a concerning one, as anyone with a mental condition or who the State believes is not amendable to treatment automatically gets a sentence tantamount to life in prison.

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