( Weekly Update #236)

Dear Members and Advocates,

This week we write to share very exciting news! The appeal to the 11th Circuit in the “Ex Post Facto Plus I” case was successful! The order came out on Friday and it was not only great for our case, but we suspect it will be precedent setting for others.

It was nearly two years ago, on November 23, 2020, that I posted the devastating news that the lower court had granted a motion to dismiss that case. After posting the update to our site, I spent a few hours pacing around my kitchen table wavering between disbelief and depression. However, attorneys Val Jonas and Todd Scher promised the Plaintiffs and the registrant community that they would keep fighting and they absolutely have kept their promise. Not only did they keep fighting, but they doubled down. If the trial court thought the plaintiffs in Ex Post Facto Plus I were barred by the statute of limitations (they didn’t bring their challenge within 4 years of being added to the registry in 1997, so now they were too late), they would bring a second lawsuit with a plaintiff who didn’t have the statute of limitations issue. Either way, the challenge would move forward, and it has.

Today, both Ex Post Facto Plus I and Ex Post Facto Plus II are alive and well. EPFP I will head back to the trial court with a very encouraging opinion from the 11th Circuit behind it, and EPFP II is heading to trial with a very encouraging rejection of the State’s motion to dismiss behind it. We are in a far different position than we were on November 23, 2020. My hope has been restored and our outlook is dramatically better than it has been in a while.

In recent months, our movement has seen some radical progress. Nothing earth shattering… yet… but long standing irrational policies have started to get erased from municipal codes. In Brevard County registrants can now attend County Commission Meetings. In Jacksonville registrants no longer have to post a sign saying “no candy or treats” and can now decorate for holidays, and it looks like the City of Gainesville is well on their way to rolling back their residency restriction to fall in line with the State’s, thereby dramatically improving the housing opportunities for those in that city. What’s incredible about all these smaller changes is they didn’t come after long court battles and a favorable decision. They all came shortly after the filing of a lawsuit, when the defendants – of their own volition – decided to remove these laws from their books.

Nobody can say whether the pressure of a lawsuit got these County and City commissioners to back down or whether they finally started paying attention to the research (and paying attention to us). In either case, with victories in these municipalities and two significant statewide constitutional challenges moving forward, it seems like the worst is behind us and things will hopefully get better moving forward. In the short term, better does not mean easier, as things are about to kick into high gear for the federal challenges and we will need to do our part. Doing our part, at this moment is funding our sustainer challenge. The numbers are right there on the thermometer that sits on our homepage. We are at least $10,000 short on the funds we need to keep these lawsuits going through the end of the year and the end of the year is rapidly approaching.

If you were holding off on making a contribution because you were concerned the 11th Circuit would affirm the dismissal, that didn’t happen. Now is the time we need your help! Please consider visiting https://floridaactioncommittee.org/donations/ and help us keep this momentum going!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee

ANNOUNCEMENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Next Monthly Membership Meeting – Thursday November 3 at 8pm ET.  Call 319-527-3487.  Topic: Long-Term Care for Aging Registered Citizens with Guest Stephanie Jerstad PhD, Millersville University. Trouble connecting? Text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 to received a call back and be connected to the meeting.

New Member Orientation Call – Thursday November 10 at 8pm ET.  Learn more about the organization, get resources, discuss your concerns, check out volunteer opportunities.  Call 319-527-3487.  Text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 to received a call back and be connected to the meeting.

See Calendar of Events – Keep up with Meet-and-Greets in your area, Support groups, Membership Calls, and other events.  For questions and more information contact the Membership Team;   [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.

Click Here for Calendar, and double click on the event to view details and RSVP instructions. Just some of the upcoming events below.

Sat Oct 29 – Orange-Seminole Meet-and Greet with a special guest and discussion on Civil Commitment: Intent vs Reality- Apopka (Orange County) – FAC is hosting the visit of a research Sociologist from University of South Carolina, Greensboro in preparation of his research on Civil Commitment.  He is interested in meeting and talking to persons that have knowledge and experience with the Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia FL.  Former residents, family members, professionals are invited to join us to identify issues/concerns, understand the intent vs reality of the system, and to identify the areas of research that need to be studied to support changes. For location and details RSVP to [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.

Sat Nov 12 – Family Support Group via Zoom. 11am- 1pm ET Therapist led, free group for family members only.  To join, contact the membership team.

Sat Nov 12 – Meet and Greet – Vero Beach 1:00-4:00pm.  RSVP to Danell at [email protected] or leave message at 904-479-8806

Sun Nov 13 – Meet and Greet Fort Pierce 2:00-5:00pm.  RSVP to Dessie at [email protected] or leave message at 772-226-0304

Sat Nov 19 – Meet and Greet -Sebring – 11am- 2pm  RSVP to Morris at [email protected] or leave message at 863-256-3026

Sat Nov 19 – Meet and Greet -Tampa – 2-4pm  RSVP to Daphne at [email protected] or leave message at 757-570-2060

Become a County Coordinator.  The only requirement is your desire to HELP us organize your county.  If you are interested in joining the County Coordinator Team, leave message at 833-273-7325, Option 1, or email [email protected]

Letter-Writing Campaigns – If you would like to participate in sending educational information to specific decision makers in Florida, please  contact [email protected].  Volunteers must be willing to proudly identify themselves by using their own name and return address on the letters.

SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK

Polly Klaas’s murder fueled the 90s crime panic. Her sisters fear ‘we’re repeating history’

Annie Nichol was seven years old on 19 March 1994 when she was brought to the White House to talk to Bill Clinton. With a stuffed dolphin by her side, the girl spoke to the president about her 12-year-old sister, Polly Klaas, who had been abducted five months earlier…

A WIN!!! Does v Swearingen (EPF I)

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just came out with their opinion in Does v. Swearingen (Ex Post Facto I) and IT’S A WINNER! The case is getting sent back to the District Court and the Plaintiffs will have their day in court. I am sharing the opinion below for…

Voter fraud charge dismissed in Florida after arrest

A Florida man had his election fraud charges dismissed on Friday, making him the first of 20 people who Gov. Ron DeSantis announced had been charged with voter fraud in August, to beat his case. The ruling by a Miami judge may now pave the way for similar motions and…

FAC Letter to HUD Concerning Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

FAC sent the below letter to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development today concerning the homeless registrant crisis in Florida. Please feel free to share it with whomever you might think would be interested. FAC Letter to HUD…

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