Earlier this year, thanks to the contributions of many of our members, we hit our fundraising goal to initiate a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the sex offender registration requirements on ex-post-facto grounds.
Many have reached out to FAC or posted comments asking about the status of this ex-post-facto suit, so we wanted to provide a quick update in order to keep everyone in the loop and assure our members that things are still moving forward.
A lawsuit of this magnitude requires a lot of planning and research before it can be filed. We first need to identify and research the strongest issues, find the right plaintiffs and retain the best experts before a case can even be filed. The process easily takes months.
Deciding which claims to set forth requires an analysis of how the laws in Florida are similar to (or different from) the laws in other states that have been successful (or unsuccessful) in similar claims. Finding the right plaintiffs is not just a matter of picking people who want to be plaintiffs, but those who will present well and be articulate, can be available for hearings or depositions, are willing to be named in case they can’t proceed anonymously. This not only involves an evaluation of these individuals’ representations, but examining their underlying case. Similar evaluations have to go into experts before they are retained.
While all this is going on, cases in other jurisdictions impact the timing of our case. In December 2016, a petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed in Doe v. Snyder (the 6th Circuit case finding the registry punishment and a violation of ex post facto) and the Supreme Court of the United States has still not decided whether it will be heard. If it’s heard, some of the issues we could bring in our case would be redundant – because the same issues might be decided by a court that would have superior authority. With so many potential points to challenge, we need to ensure our resources are not misspent.
As much as time does not feel like it’s on our side as we are being punished, when it comes to the courts and these issues, it seems time is on our side, as many of the recent cases have provided relief and useful precedent.
Please be assured that things are moving in the background. Much of what is going on is the important stuff – preparation and planning. Much of what is going on also can’t be disclosed publicly so as not to prepare the opposition.