Dear Members and Advocates,
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Boyd v. Washington, a case out of Washington that challenged in-person registration. Had the Supreme Court chosen to hear the case, our “in-person challenge” would have been argued for us. The fact that it won’t be heard by the SCOTUS means that our “in-person challenge” is ripe to move forward. We have already been preparing the case, the suit has been funded and we expect it will be filed before this month is over.
Later this month, our response to the State’s Motion to Dismiss is due in our Ex Post Facto Plus challenge and attorney Val Jonas and her team are working hard on the response. One of the challenges faced when fighting a motion to dismiss is navigating the sea of bad precedent often created by cases that were poorly prepared or filed by pro se litigants that did not know what they are doing. While everyone has the right to access the courts to redress their grievances, we constantly urge our members not to proceed into court unrepresented and without a brilliantly drafted, well researched complaint. A couple of weeks ago, a Pro Se litigant had his case dismissed (Hadden v. Florida) in the Southern District of Florida (the same court where our Ex Post Facto Plus suit was filed). The same Pro Se litigant had lost an appeal in the 4th District Court of Appeals (State Court) last year. This does significant harm to all the registrants in Florida who might later bring a brilliant case but have to live with the damaging precedent.
On the legislative watch, two new bills have been introduced. SB 130 in the Senate, seeks to eliminate the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual battery against someone under 18 and HB 83 introduced in the House, which seeks to do that plus establish a tracking system for victims to track the progress of their rape kits. While statutes of limitation (a period of time in which prosecution can be brought) have their purpose in the criminal justice system, since these bills don’t concern policies that impact people currently required to register (and the new laws would not be retroactively applied), we will not concern ourselves with tracking these bills. Naturally, as soon as something relevant is introduced, we will let you know.
On the federal legislative watch, a new bill was signed into law that would offer financial assistance to victims of child pornography offenses. The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (AVAA) does not establish anything new, except it establishes guidelines and clarification to existing law. More specifically, it establishes compensation for victims of CP to a cap of the victim’s losses (to include: (A) medical services relating to physical, psychiatric, or psychological care; (B) physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation; (C) necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child care expenses; (D) lost income; (E) reasonable attorneys’ fees, as well as other costs incurred; and (F) any other relevant losses incurred by the victim.) and from traffickers of CP to a minimum of $3000.
Nationally, the state of Connecticut is following the states of California and Missouri and likely getting rid of their lifetime registration. The Connecticut Sentencing Commission held a public hearing last week to review several proposed changes in response to a 2 year study that concluded they could be handling their registry better. With states migrating to a tiered system that is risk-based instead of offense-based and offering opportunities for individuals to re-integrate, the public is better served. It’s time that Florida followed suit.
Finally… proof that ‘with unity comes change’. A member informed us of an ‘inaccuracy’ in a report out of Fox 13 News in Tampa, which used the term “rapist” synonymously with “sex offender”. We posted and encouraged members to contact the station. Not only did they change the story, but undoubtedly the response helped educate the station that people on the registry are not all predators, pedophiles, rapists, etc. and hopefully they will think twice before using the terms interchangeably.
The Florida Action Committee
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
According to an article in the Daily Mail, a UK news outlet, “Prison rape in America – perpetrated by both inmates and staff – remains pervasive.” 15 years after the Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed in 2003. Florida has one of the worst prison systems in the…
Enlightenment and a trigger warning in Connecticut: A day-long event in Connecticut featuring a series of presentations about the sex offense registry proved enlightening and remarkable! One highlight was the first speaker who gave an overview, taking some trouble…
75-year-old Edward Bowman is pushing legislators to create a law, “Clara’s Law”, to be named after his late wife Clara Mae, that would ban sexual predators (not sure whether the term “predator” is used to distinguish the different classification or if it’s used by him…
SOURCE CRANSTON, R.I. — The settlement Wednesday of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, means there will be no cap on the number of sex offenders allowed to live at the Harrington Hall homeless shelter. This all stems from a state law that was set to take effect a year…